Defense lawyers ask homicide detective about his experience as actor on TV drama


News from around the Baltimore region

July 16, 2005|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Taking the witness stand yesterday for the third consecutive day, a homicide detective who interviewed the two Mexican immigrants accused of killing three young relatives was put on the defensive -- about his acting abilities.

Policarpio Espinoza, 23, and his nephew, Adan Canela, 18, are on trial on three counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the May 2004 slashing deaths in Fallstaff of an 8-year-old girl, her 9-year-old brother and their 10-year-old male cousin.

The trial began with opening statements July 8 and could continue into early August. The homicide detective's testimony yesterday -- a day when the judge let the jury leave early, about 1 p.m. -- did little to move the case forward.

Sgt. Darryl Massey interviewed Espinoza and Canela at police headquarters hours after the killings. In cross-examination over two days, Massey was grilled about, among other things, his acting abilities.

Espinoza gave Massey a taped statement in which he placed himself and Canela at the children's apartment complex, though Espinoza said only Canela went inside.

On Thursday, Espinoza's attorney, Timothy M. Dixon, asked Massey about his years as an undercover drug detective and his guest role on the HBO crime drama The Wire, which is set in Baltimore.

Massey eagerly testified about his appearances on the popular show, saying he would be on again this coming season.

Massey has been a lively witness, and he was questioned about his ability to distinguish between his job as a police detective and his technique as an actor.

The detective, who has been on the police force for 26 years, has been expressive on the stand. He choked up when he talked about seeing the children's bodies, and he deeply furrowed his brow and emphatically shook his head when the defense attorneys said something he did not agree with.

At one point Thursday, he acted out Canela's "aggressive" body posture in a chair placed in front of the jury box.

Assistant State's Attorney Sharon R. Holback, responding to the questions raised by Dixon, asked Massey yesterday whether he told the truth when he was acting or read from a script. He said he read from a script. Then she asked him if he upheld his oath to tell the truth during this trial. He said he had. Finally, she asked him if courtroom testimony was scripted.

"No, ma'am," Massey replied, shaking his head and looking at her quizzically.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.