Outside mall

Baltimore County police investigate a shooting scene outside Nordstroms at Towson Town Center. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun / December 19, 2011)

The girlfriend of Rodney Pridget today described the last evening she spent with the 19-year-old, saying the two shopped at Towson Town Center on Dec. 19, 2011. He bought her a pair of tennis shoes and they made teddy bears for her and her mother at the Build-A-Bear shop, she said.

A short time later, Pridget was dead, shot outside the mall.

Testimony began Tuesday in Baltimore County Circuit Court in the murder trial of two of the four men charged in the killing of Pridget last December.

Frank Theodore Williams, 31, of Lansdowne and William Ward III, 44, of Baltimore, are each charged with first-degree murder.

Police contend that Williams and Ward transported Tyrone Chester Brown Jr., 19, of Baltimore, to the mall on the evening of Dec. 19. Brown is accused of pulling the trigger, and is also charged with first-degree murder in the case.

At the trial Pridget's girlfriend, a 17-year-old from Baltimore City with whom Pridget lived, recounted their evening of Christmas shopping at the mall before the shooting.

The jury also heard testimony from two witnesses, who were pulling out of the mall driveway outside Nordstrom when the shots were fired. One, Lindsey Pelkowski said she heard the gun shots. Her frantic 911 call was played for the jury.

She told the dispatcher that the shooter, who she described as wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt and jeans, ran to the parking garage.

Officers who responded to the scene testified Tuesday that they observed Williams in a glassed-in staircase shortly after the shooting. They said Williams was "frantically" climbing and descending the stairs, poking his head out the door at each floor, before an officer chased and apprehended him.

At the trial, police said a witness to the shooting was brought to garage to try and determine if Williams was the shooter, but the witness did not recognize Williams, and he was brought to police headquarters for questioning.

It was also revealed in the court proceedings that the officer who brought Williams to the Public Safety Building was in possession of Williams' cell phone during the interviews, and he said the phone rang "approximately 75 times" that night.

Police said Williams, Ward, Brown and a fourth man, Jermell Monte Brandon, 35, Baltimore, were shown on surveillance videos following Pridget around the mall and communicating by cell phone.

Testimony was cut short on Tuesday at around 1:30 p.m. when Judge Robert Cahill fell ill and decided to end the day's proceedings. The trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Brown is scheduled to face trial on Sept. 11, according to online court records. No trial date is listed for Brandon.