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Ward is arraigned

July 17, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail

Karim Ali Ward opened his eyes wide, raised his eyebrows and let out a loud huff at his arraignment Wednesday when District Court Commissioner Craig Clevenger told him a conviction on a first-degree murder charge could result in a death sentence.

Ward is charged with first- and second-degree murder and assault in the Dec. 14, 2002, shooting death of Carl Anthony Wallace on North Jonathan Street.

Ward, wearing a white long-sleeve T-shirt, baggy cargo pants and with black dreadlocks, remained quiet and calm during most of his appearance. Ward appeared shaken when told the maximum penalty for a first-degree murder conviction could be the death penalty.

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Ward deferred a decision on whether to invoke or waive his right to a preliminary hearing.

Clevenger told Ward he had 10 days to inform the court of his decision. If Ward does not do so, the case will be sent directly to Circuit Court, Clevenger said.

Ward was to be held without bail at the Washington County Detention Center until his bond hearing, scheduled for today at 12:30 p.m., Clevenger said.

Hagerstown City Police Detective Shawn Shultz, who took custody of Ward early Wednesday in lower Manhattan, said Ward was cooperative and talkative during the five-hour car ride to Hagerstown.

"We talked the whole way back but nothing about the case," Shultz said. "(It was) personal, everyday talk."

Shultz said Ward informed him that John Corderman, a former Washington County Circuit judge, was to be his defense attorney. Corderman could not be reached late Wednesday for comment.

Ward signed a waiver of extradition Friday, three days after he was taken into custody by members of the NYPD's Anti-Crime Squad, 32nd Precinct.

Hagerstown police allege Ward shot Wallace during a street fight between Ward's friend and Wallace's girlfriend in the 400 block of North Jonathan Street. Wallace was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

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