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Prosecution rests in murder trial of N.Y. man charged in 2006 Hagerstown slaying

May 14, 2008

HAGERSTOWN - The state rested its case and the defense presented four witnesses this morning during the trial of Olusegun Hakeem Ogundipe, 28, of New York.

Ogundipe is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in connection with the death of Jackson Agustin Rodriguez, 22, of Walton Avenue in the Bronx, N.Y.

Detective Jason Ackerman, the primary investigator in the case, testified for prosecutors.

Defense witnesses testified that Ogundipe was with them at a woman's apartment on West Franklin Street around the time of the July 23, 2006, shooting at an apartment in Washington Gardens.

Two other women testified that Ogundipe stopped by their apartment around 11:30 p.m.

The shooting was reported to police at about 11:15 p.m.

The blast of gunfire that left one man dead and another permanently injured "came out of nowhere," testified a third man who said he was held at gunpoint as someone shot at his friends.

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Steven Ramel Broadhead was so shocked when shots were fired that he dropped a bag of McDonald's food on the kitchen floor, he said Tuesday.

Broadhead testified during the first day of a jury trial for Ogundipe, presided over by Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr.

Rodriguez was dead when Hagerstown Police Department officers arrived at the apartment. Rodriguez's mother and sister were present in court throughout Tuesday's testimony.

Tony Perry, 22, of Eastburn Avenue in the Bronx, was shot in the head and has lost an eye and part of his memory as a result of his injuries, according to a stipulation agreed to by prosecutors and assistant public defenders Loren Villa and Jerome Joyce.

Prosecutors and the public defenders representing him agree that Ogundipe did not fire the fatal shot. But Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said during her opening statement Tuesday morning that Ogundipe was involved in the shooting.

Cirincion said another man, Joshua Edwards, aka "Blue Eyes," was the shooter.

Edwards, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and other crimes, according to court records.

Edwards is in custody in England, and law enforcement has been trying to get him extradited for more than a year, Hagerstown Police Department Lt. Mike King said Tuesday night.

Testimony begins

Both Ogundipe and the shooting victims were New Yorkers who traveled to Hagerstown as part of the drug trade, Cirincion alleged during her opening statement. The men relied on the good will of local women, who provided a place for them to stay in Hagerstown, she said.

One of those women, Kimberly Duckfield, testified Tuesday.

Duckfield, 21, was the tenant of the apartment where the shooting took place, and had allowed some of the men involved to stay with her, her child and her roommate. Edwards had been dating her roommate, Duckfield testified.

During the evening of the shooting, Edwards had been in her kitchen arguing with Rodriguez and Perry, she testified. He left the apartment, telling Duckfield he was going to get a soda, and later returned with several other people, Duckfield said.

"Blue Eyes already had the gun out and said, 'What's the problem now,'" she testified.

Broadhead also had been with the group that entered her apartment with Edwards, she said. Duckfield testified that she couldn't identify anyone but Edwards and Broadhead.

She watched as some guys pushed Broadhead, aka "Mo," into her kitchen, Duckfield said.

The shooting happened "in the blink of an eye" and she ran to the room where her son was sleeping, Duckfield said.

During his testimony, Broadhead referred to Edwards as "the killer," "the one that actually murdered my friend" and said he did not know him.

Broadhead grew up with Rodriguez and Perry in the Bronx, he said. All three men made a living "hustling" or selling drugs, he testified. On the night of the shooting, the men had about $10,000 worth of cocaine.

Rodriguez was known as "LB," short for "Little Blood," and he and Perry both were members of the criminal gang the Bloods, Broadhead said.

Broadhead denied involvement with a gang.

Under questioning by Villa, Broadhead testified that the state agreed not to prosecute him for dealing drugs in exchange for his testimony.

After going out to buy food the night of the shooting, Broadhead ran into a group of men, including Edwards and Ogundipe, on the stairs to Duckfield's apartment, he testified.

Edwards used a key to open the door and immediately pulled a gun, Broadhead testified. Ogundipe pushed Broadhead into the kitchen, put a gun to his face and told him not to move, Broadhead testified. That's when five or six shots were fired in the living room, he said.

Broadhead didn't know what to do after the shooting, so he called his girlfriend and asked her to call police, he said. He didn't want to call police himself because there was a warrant out for his arrest, Broadhead said. He then left the scene, and was picked up a few days later by police in Pennsylvania for driving on a suspended license.

Hagerstown police officers and Jeffrey Kercheval of the Western Maryland Regional Crime Lab also testified Tuesday.

Kercheval collected and processed evidence from the crime scene. Under questioning by Joyce, Kercheval said he had found no physical evidence tying Ogundipe to the crime scene.

Prosecutors and the public defenders stipulated in an agreement that the cause of Rodriguez's death was gunshots and the manner was homicide.

Ogundipe's trial, scheduled for two days, is set to resume today at 9 a.m.

Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael said he expects to call five more witnesses before the defense mounts its case.

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