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Examiner describes stab wounds

May 03, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Testimony continued Wednesday in the trial of a Hagerstown man charged with murder in a stabbing death on Bethune Avenue in the early morning hours of April 13, 2006.

Marshall Adams, 27, faces first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of 31-year-old Leo Anthony Morris.

Morris, who was dead by the time police reached the scene, suffered 32 stab wounds and cuts, some that were consistent with self-defense, expert witnesses testified Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Dr. Theodore King Jr. of the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore performed Morris' autopsy. He testified that wounds on Morris' left arm were consistent with self-defense motions.

Jeffrey Kercheval of the Western Maryland Regional Crime Lab in Hagerstown processed the crime scene. He testified Wednesday that he believed Morris' right arm was incapacitated early in the confrontation and that he used his left arm in self-defense.

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Hagerstown Police Detective Shane Blankenship testified Wednesday that he interviewed Adams at police headquarters on May 17, 2006, and spoke with the defendant in jail several months later. He said that Adams admitted during the second conversation to stabbing Morris.

Adams never denied being there when Morris died, Blankenship testified. When the detective told Adams that someone identified him as being at the scene, Adams responded, 'Well did the person see my emotions?'" Blankenship testified.

Adams asked if the person saw what he was doing and Blankenship responded, 'You know,' the detective testified.

"'I can't deny that ... I guess you would say I did it,'" Blankenship quoted Adams as saying.

Later in the interview, Adams said, 'Even if I didn't do it, I'd still be a suspect," Blankenship testified.

Blankenship said that he showed Adams photographs from Morris' autopsy during the May interview.

"'That's gruesome ... that's life right there ... that's weird ... it's all going to come back on me,'" Adams said, according to Blankenship's testimony.

Prosecutors played an audio tape of a portion of the detective's interview with Adams.

Adams needed a little money and planned to sell drugs to Morris, but Morris snatched Adams' wrist and stepped forward, Adams was heard saying on the tape.

"I got scared," Adams said on the tape.

Morris had a butcher knife and demanded drugs from Adams, Adams said during the interview.

Adams said he "blacked out. One thing led to another."

Adams said he saw red on the ground, panicked and didn't know what to do.

"I ain't never been in a situation like that," he said.

Adams' relationship with Morris was a "street thing" and they were members of the Crips gang, Adams said on the tape.

Blankenship testified about another discussion he had with Adams, on Nov. 29, 2006, when he went to the Washington County Detention Center to serve Adams with paperwork.

He had not intended to interrogate Adams, but he could tell he was getting upset, Blankenship testified. When Adams asked why the state was going after him so hard, Blankenship said, "Marshall, you stabbed a guy 32 times," the detective testified.

"'I only stabbed him seven times,'" Blankenship quoted Adams as saying.

Adams then described the seven stab wounds he inflicted, pointing to his own body to show the locations of the wounds, Blankenship testified.

The trial is scheduled to resume this morning.

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