Work in Sports
Lewis trial: Day 8
Defense accuses prosecutor of promoting mistrial
Posted: Saturday June 03, 2000 01:42 AM
ATLANTA (AP) -- Defense attorneys' objections led to a nasty exchange with the chief prosecutor Friday as an Atlanta police investigator testified in the murder trial of football star Ray Lewis and two friends.
Detective Ken Allen described the evidence he found near the bodies of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, who were fatally stabbed in a Jan. 31 fight after a Super Bowl party. Lewis, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley are charged with killing them.
Along with bottles and articles of clothing, Allen said he found a knife with a 2-inch, serrated blade lying on the ground near where the victims were stabbed. However, Allen said there was no blood found on the knife.
Defense attorneys objected again and again to the questions asked by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard and even accused Howard of trying to force a mistrial.
"We're not trying to goad the judge into a mistrial," Howard retorted. "That is far from it."
After the judge sustained another defense objection, Howard said, "All right." Tony Axam, one of Lewis' attorneys, accused the prosecutor of using a derisive tone and said, "That's not how a trial is conducted."
Howard tried to get Allen to testify that he arrested Lewis based on a statement given to police by Duane Fassett, the driver of Lewis' rented limousine. But after strong objections from the defense, Superior Court Judge Alice D. Bonner ruled that the arrest of the defendants was irrelevant.
The judge also refused to let Allen testify about a misleading statement Lewis gave to officers hours after the killings. In that statement, which the jury has already heard, the Baltimore Ravens linebacker never mentioned Sweeting and gave contradictory versions of the fight.
The prosecution had hoped to finish Friday, but now says it will wrap up its case Monday or early Tuesday. The state still has to call forensics experts and medical examiners.
Prosecutors also may call some of the other people who were with Lewis in his limousine -- including two men known only as Gino and Claudus, and possibly Jessica Robertson, who has been described as Lewis' girlfriend.
Howard also wants to put the limousine driver back on the stand to probe inconsistencies between the statement he gave police and what he said on the stand last week. The judge issued a new subpoena for Fassett earlier this week.
Fassett's attorney, David Irwin of Baltimore, said Friday his client had not yet been served with the subpoena. Irwin said he will ask a judge in Maryland to decide whether Fassett has to obey the summons.