Prosecutor: Fight led to man's slaying

February 03, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

The trial of a man charged in the shooting death of a New Jersey man on North Jonathan Street in 2002 began in Washington County Circuit Court Monday with the prosecution's witnesses disagreeing on what clothes the shooter was wearing, but agreeing that the man's build fit that of the defendant.

Karim Ali Ward, 28, whose last address before his arrest was 1725 Springhouse Court, Frederick, Md., is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and several handgun charges in the Dec. 14, 2002, death of Carl Anthony Wallace, 28, of Asbury Park, N.J.

In his opening statement, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Michael told the jury of eight women and four men that six people were gathered in front of 466 N. Jonathan St. in the early morning hours when the shooting occurred.


"We have tried to get all those people here for you ... We can't bring Mr. Wallace back, but we have brought Mr. Ward here to answer these charges," he said.

Michael said the court issued a warrant for one of those witnesses who did not appear to give her testimony Monday.

He then turned the jury's attention to the murder scene, to the nearby Central Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and to a couple of workers who were taking a break outside the plant around the time of the shooting. One man, Raymond Williams, had been helping a co-worker load a Christmas bonus worth of soda into his car when he heard a woman banging on the door to 466 N. Jonathan St., he said.

Michael said Williams' co-worker, Decatur Young, would testify that he went outside the side entrance of the plant off Forest Drive, saw a group gathered and heard people arguing.

Williams later testified that the man he saw shoot Wallace wore a yellow shirt and Young later testified that the man he saw shoot Wallace wore a black hooded sweatshirt.

A fight, then shots

Michael told the jury that the argument started when a woman began banging on the door of 466 N. Jonathan St., screaming for a woman to come outside so they could finish a fight they had started at a club.

Williams testified that a man answered the door. He identified the man as Ward, saying he had seen him sitting outside the house during the day on several occasions.

Two women started to fight and Wallace held the women apart as if to stop them from fighting, Williams testified.

The man who came out of the apartment fired two shots down Jonathan Street, not at anybody, but the next three shots were fired at Wallace, he testified.

"The first shot, it moved him back. He stood up, he shot him again and that's when he started to fall," he said.

Kenny Jenkins, a driver with Miller Transportation, later testified that he was picking up a fare at the plant early that morning and, while bending down in his van, heard what he thought was a car backfire.

"Ten to 15 seconds later I heard five or six more shots," he said.

Jenkins identified the man whom he saw holding the gun as Ward and said he was wearing jeans, a dark vest and a sweater.

Jenkins said he then saw Ward enter a car with three other men. Williams and Young both testified that they saw the man who fired the shots exit the house from the back and head up Charles Street, walking.

Each witness testified that Ward fit the build of the man whom they saw fire the shots at Wallace.

Ward's defense attorney, John P. Corderman, deferred his opening statement until he begins his case. He challenged each of the witnesses' testimony, pulling out their statements made to police after the shooting and comparing them to their testimony on the stand.

He asked Williams which hand the gunman used to fire the shots, pointing out that what he said on the stand differed from his statement to police.

"You don't know today, do you?" Corderman asked.

Williams said, cocking his head, "No, I guess not."

Testimony was to resume today. Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley told jurors to call the hot line to find out if weather would effect the trial.

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