A New Jersey police officer accused of the shooting death of another driver in an alleged road-rage incident last summer is trying to get the case dismissed from Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
In a motion filed Tuesday, attorneys for Joseph Lamont Walker dispute the story police and prosecutors gave to the grand jury that indicted the 18-year law enforcement veteran last summer.
Walker, a detective with the Hudson County, N.J., prosecutor's office, was indicted by an Anne Arundel County grand jury on first-degree murder and weapons charges in the June 8 death of Joseph Dale Harvey Jr., a 36-year-old truck driver who grew up in Millersville.
Police initially charged Walker with second-degree murder, and the grand jury elevated the charge.
According to charging documents, Walker's minivan cut off Harvey's car as both were turning from Route 175 onto Route 3 near the merge onto Interstate 97. The two began swerving at each other, and Harvey's passenger told police he saw Walker point a gun, according to court documents.
Walker pulled over and Harvey passed him and pulled over. Both men got out of their vehicles and police said Walker later fired his police gun, striking Harvey three times.
In Tuesday's motion for dismissal, Walker's attorneys allege prosecutors presented false information to the jury and withheld pertinent information. Charles N. Curlett Jr., Walker's Baltimore-based attorney, claims prosecutors didn't tell the grand jury that Walker told police he feared for his life, that Harvey started the confrontation and that Harvey and his passenger had been drinking before the incident.
Curlett wrote that prosecutors caused "irreparable prejudice" and the case should be dismissed.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Anne Arundel State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess said her office would try the case in the courtroom, not in the media. But she added: "I am confident that Assistant State's Attorney Michael Dunty did nothing improper during his presentation to the Grand Jury and after a judge hears the evidence, the court will agree."
Walker's trial is scheduled for May.
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