Witnesses identify defendant as shooter

April 21, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD


A 17-year-old boy who was shot in the chest and hand at his sister's Hagerstown apartment told Washington County Circuit Court jurors Thursday that Musliman "Mizzah" Clark chased him and fired a gun at him after she knocked down the door to the apartment on a November 2005 afternoon.

The boy, Timothy Jerome Thomas Jr., was one of nine prosecution witnesses who took the stand Thursday on the first day of a trial for Clark, 25, who is charged with attempted first-degree and attempted second-degree murder and first-degree and second-degree assault in the 3:56 p.m. shooting at 13 S. Cannon Ave. on Nov. 22, 2005.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Robert Veil said he will rest his case today. Opening statements were made after a jury of eight women and four men was seated for the case, which had originally been scheduled for one day. Jury selection took nearly two hours.


In his opening statement, Veil told the panel that Clark "was upset over a debt" when she arrived at the apartment and confronted Thomas' sister, Nyoka Scott. After an argument with Scott, Clark, who was driven to Scott's residence, "headed back to the car, got a gun" and proceeded toward the apartment to confront Thomas, who was inside, Veil said.

"She forces the door open and goes in after Mr. Thomas ... She proceeds to take her gun and fire two shots," Veil said. Thomas escaped and ran to Washington County Hospital for treatment of his gunshot wounds, one through his chest and one through his right hand, according to records.

"She didn't kill him, but she attempted to kill him," Veil said.

One of Clark's attorneys, Assistant Public Defender Carl Creeden, told the jury, "Miss Clark denies that she shot anybody."

Creeden asked jurors to pay attention to witness accounts of the afternoon and "see if what they say matches up."

One witness, Terrence Boyce, told jurors he was "in the kitchen eating" when the shots, which he only heard, were fired. Thomas testified that Boyce was not inside the apartment. Another witness, Nicole Johnson, testified that she believed Boyce was still by his car when the shots rang out, but also testified she was focused on Clark. All identified the shooter as Clark.

James Williams testified that Clark asked him for a ride that day, but he did not know what she planned to do. After parking the car near the apartment and honoring Clark's request to wait, Williams testified he listened to music. Clark eventually got back into his car and told him to drive, he testified.

"She said that something like she missed him or whatever," Williams said in a mumble.

Testimony from Thomas was challenged by Creeden, who pointed out that Thomas originally told doctors that he didn't know who shot him and told detectives "James King" was the name of the friend who helped him run to the emergency room and who was with him in the apartment that afternoon.

Thomas explained on re-cross-examination that his friend, whose name is really Felix Hawkins, was "on the run" at the time so he didn't want to give his real name. He also testified he did not originally tell doctors who shot him because he was already on juvenile probation, had pending charges and knew he was involved with illegal activity.

"I was just agitated. I was just shot and I had a whole bunch of medicine," Thomas said.

Clark was arrested Dec. 7 in Winchester, Va., Hagerstown Police Department Detective Shawn Schultz testified.

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