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Archive for Thursday, April 19, 2007

Witness identifies defendant as gunman

Investigators connect bullets with suspected murder weapon in Granada shooting trial

April 19, 2007

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Witness identifies Anderson as shooter

A witness to a fatal shooting outside a downtown Lawrence nightclub identifies the defendant as the gunman today in district court. Enlarge video

An eyewitness to a Feb. 5, 2006, Lawrence shooting identified the defendant - based on the jacket he wore that night - as the man who fired several shots at a Topeka man who later died.

And investigators and specialists connected two bullets they found near the body of the victim with the suspected murder weapon.

The reason prosecutors and investigators focused their case on 20-year-old Rashawn Anderson, of Topeka, for the shooting outside the Granada, 1020 Mass., became clearer during testimony Wednesday in Douglas County District Court. But defense attorneys say it's not enough to implicate Anderson.

Anderson is accused of shooting and killing Robert Earl Williams, 46, also of Topeka, and injuring Pierre Burnette, 24, of Kansas City, Kan., after a hip-hop show in downtown Lawrence. The show featured Denver-based rap artist Doe, Amondo Miller, who is a nephew of Williams and originally from Topeka.

Eyewitness account

During morning testimony, Colorado-based jazz artist Damon Jones, 32, pointed out Anderson as the man who fired the shots.

"Is this the same individual you saw walk up on the left side of your van and pull the trigger that night?" asked Trent Krug, assistant Douglas County district attorney.

"Yes," Jones said.

Jones made the identification based on a home video shot by a contractor for the record label. The video recorded events outside the Granada minutes before the shooting. Krug paused the video that showed an image of Anderson wearing a tan or brownish heavy coat.

Jones said he was sitting in a van parked on Massachusetts Street facing the Granada when he saw a black man in a light tan "Carhartt-style" jacket walk beside the van, pull up his hood and begin firing shots. Jones said the shooter fired five to six shots.

"The focus was Doe's uncle. All the shots were - from what I could see - the shots were going into (Williams') coat," Jones said.

Jones said he then saw the shooter walk around the passenger side of his van and converse with another man before getting into a car that sped away.

Defense attorney Tom Bartee asked Jones why he did not mention the jacket in a written statement with police. Jones said he made the written statement during the original interview before watching the video.

"It was the coat because that's what I recall more than anything," Jones said.

The gun

Lawrence Police Detective Zach Thomas testified Wednesday afternoon that on Feb. 22 - 17 days after the shooting - officers found an R.G. Model 40 .38-special-caliber revolver in a rural area 2 miles west of Lawrence just north of U.S. Highway 40. The man who took Anderson back to Topeka took that highway.

Officers already had collected four bullets - one from Williams' bowel during the autopsy, one from the emergency room floor near Williams' body and two from the crime scene.

Amy Coody, a Kansas Bureau of Investigation firearm and toolmark examiner, testified that she determined two of the bullets were fired from the revolver - the one collected from Massachusetts Street where Williams fell after being shot and the other one from the emergency room floor.

Detectives showed jury members Williams' bloody beige shirt.

Krug said during his opening statement that DNA evidence would tie Anderson to the revolver, but defense attorneys have said he handled the gun before that night at his home.

Burnette, who was injured in the shooting, testified Wednesday that he was simply trying to follow a friend to get a ride to a party when he was shot unexpectedly in the back. He didn't see who fired the shots.

Doctors removed part of his small intestine after the shooting and a bullet remains in his body.

Anderson's attorneys have said the shooter's identity would be an issue in the case. Based on the arguments Williams had with different people, several other people could have had motive to fire the shots, defense attorneys Bartee and Mark Manna have said.

Prosecutors expect to wrap up their case today.

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