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Prosecution rests in road-rage murder trial

Attorneys will begin their defense on Thursday of Joseph Lamont Walker, a New Jersey police officer accused of gunning down a fellow motorist following a road-rage dispute in Millersville last summer.

Walker is charged with first-degree murder and other counts related to the death of 36-year-old Joseph Dale Harvey Jr. of Lansdowne on June 8, 2013.

Anne Arundel County Assistant State's Attorney Michael Dunty rested his case on Wednesday afternoon following three days of testimony from Harvey's friend who witnessed the incident, passing motorists, police officers, a medical examiner and others.

Dunty's witnesses described a road-rage battle between Harvey and Walker that began when Walker's van drifted in front of Harvey's car as both vehicles turned from Route 175 onto northbound Route 3 before it meets Interstate 97.

After swerving at each other and yelling, both drivers pulled over onto the right shoulder, where they exchanged more words and Walker ultimately shot Harvey three times, according to Harvey's friend and passenger, Adam Pidel. Passing motorists said they saw Harvey walking toward Walker but stopping before he was shot.

Walker's attorneys have indicated they plan to show their client acted in self-defense to protect himself, as well as his wife and children, who were inside his van. Lead defense attorney Charles N. Curlett Jr. made a standard motion requesting an acquittal on all charges that Judge Michael Wachs will consider before the defense begins calling witnesses on Thursday.

The trial, which began Monday, was initially expected to last up to three weeks. But Wachs told jurors he now expects the case to wrap up by the middle of next week.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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