Work in Sports
Defense: Insufficient evidence merits directed verdict
Posted: Sunday June 04, 2000 03:44 PM
ATLANTA (AP) -- There is a "good shot" the judge could dismiss the murder charges against Ray Lewis because of insufficient evidence, lawyers for the NFL star said.
They contend prosecutors have presented little proof the Baltimore Ravens linebacker assaulted anyone during a Jan. 31 street fight that left two men dead after a Super Bowl party.
Without much direct evidence linking Lewis to the stabbings of Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, prosecutors are trying to convince the jury Lewis participated in a conspiracy to cover up the crime.
But that's not what he is charged with. Lewis and two friends, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley, are facing only the more serious charges of murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.
"There's no evidence of guilt here," said Lewis' attorney, Don Samuel.
Lewis' defense attorneys admit the player gave a misleading statement to police on the morning after the killings, but there has been other testimony that suggests Lewis participated in some kind of cover-up:
All this can be used as circumstantial evidence of guilt. But it's more effective when combined with more solid evidence, Kramer said.
Lewis' attorneys believe the only piece of evidence standing in the way of the judge dismissing the case against Lewis is the testimony of Chester Anderson -- the only witness thus far to say Lewis was an aggressor in the fight.
But the judge and jury might not find Anderson credible because he is an admitted con artist who is in jail on identification fraud charges. He also might be hard to believe because another witness, John DiSiena, gave a conflicting account.
It has been a difficult two weeks for District Attorney Paul Howard, who at times has shown exasperation at witnesses who change their testimony on the stand and at Judge Alice Bonner, who sustains most objections by the defense.
"When you fight for justice and what you think is right ... you can't be dissuaded or frustrated," Howard said.
Howard will try to finish his case Monday or early Tuesday after calling forensics experts and medical examiners. He also would like to put the limousine driver back on the stand, but Fassett is fighting the second subpoena in Maryland.