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Drug dealers testify in murder trial

December 03, 1997

Drug dealers testify in murder trial

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A convicted drug dealer Tuesday linked both Eric Michael Turner and Pernell J. Sellers to the Oct. 24, 1996, murder of Jennifer LaBelle Folmar.

Mike Green, 22, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., testified in U.S. District Court that he saw Sellers give Turner a small handgun shortly before the shooting.

"They just killed that girl," Green claimed Sellers told him afterward. Green, who is serving 37 months for selling cocaine, said he saw Turner and another man, Julian Pace of Charles Town, W.Va., walking in the direction of Folmar's car before the shooting.

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"I went up to see if it was true or not. She was just laying in the car," Green said.

Green said a friend of Folmar's, George Johnson, came up to the car and "was wiping the blood from her head and trying to get her out of the car." Green said she was conscious at the time, but another man told Johnson to "let her be."

According to Green, Sellers was also there asking if Folmar was dead. Prosecutors claim Turner later stabbed her 11 times and came back a third time to shoot her twice more in the head.

When Folmar drove onto Ray Street that night, Green said, "people were yelling she was a cop ... She was looking for some crack to buy and nobody would sell it to her."

He said Folmar parked around the corner on East German Street.

Attorneys for Turner and Sellers did not get a chance to question Green Tuesday.

Another convicted drug dealer, Michael Smith, 27, testified that he and Turner had sold crack in 1995 and 1996, making up to $17,000 a week.

White said he is on probation for drug convictions in New York and Maryland, avoiding prison "by working with federal agents."

Turner's attorney, Stephen Herndon, got Smith to admit he had been arrested again recently on drug charges in Maryland.

Smith said Turner gave Sellers cocaine up to several times a week while Smith and Turner were partners. Smith also said, however, that he had met Sellers only a handful of times and didn't know his last name.

Thirteen witnesses, most of them police officers, took the stand Tuesday in the trial's second day. Much of the testimony dealt with the discovery of Folmar in her locked car and the search for evidence.

Shepherdstown patrolman Shawn Bonifant testified he saw a man in a white coat make a waving or throwing motion as he drove onto Ray Street, around the corner from the 23-year-old Bunker Hill, W.Va., woman's car. Jefferson County Deputy Reserve Mike Dumer later found a .25-caliber pistol nearby.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Robert McWilliams said Monday that police found a white leather coat with blood stains from both Turner and Folmar. Former Shepherd College police officer Tim Carroll said he saw a man fitting Turner's description on the porch of Henry Lee Grantham's Ray Street house, where the coat was found behind a chair.

No one at the house admitted to owning the coat, he said.

Dumer identified Sellers and Turner as passengers in two cars that later left the scene, although Sellers had no identification and Turner gave "a Muslim name" before producing his driver's license.

Turner and Sellers are charged with killing Folmar in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise. Despite that and four other federal racketeering charges, prosecutors decided before the trial not to seek the death penalty.

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