In the security camera footage prosecutors played Monday, Radee Labeeb Prince motions for his coworkers at Advanced Granite Solutions in Edgewood to gather around him. Then, as Prince is out of view of the security camera, they begin to topple over, and others in the granite-cutting shop start to run.
Prince comes into view brandishing a gun. He points it at a downed man and fires. Prince turns and fires at a fleeing man before walking out of the granite-cutting room.
Prosecutors stop the video. The room is completely silent for a beat.
Prosecutors asked the jury to carefully weigh the footage when deciding Prince’s guilt; but Prince’s defense attorneys asked the jurors to look past the video and consider the reason behind why it happened, stating that untreated mental illness was a factor during open arguments on the first day of Prince’s trial in Harford County Circuit Court.
Prince, 40, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two further firearms charges in connection to the Oct. 18, 2017 shooting at his former place of work, Advanced Granite Solutions in Edgewood.
Killed in the shooting were Bayarsaikhan Tudev, 53, of Virginia; Jose Hidalgo Romero, 34, of Aberdeen; and Enis Mrvoljak, 48, of Dundalk. Jose Roberto Flores Gillen of Edgewood, and Enoc Sosa of North East, were injured and taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Sosa was discharged Nov. 2, 2017; Gillen was discharged four days later.
Monday, prosecutors and defense attorneys began the trial — almost exactly three years from the date of the shooting.
Prince pleaded not guilty to the charges, as well as not criminally responsible — Maryland’s version of the insanity defense. The trial may be divided into two parts: first determining his culpability for the alleged crimes, then his criminal responsibility for any charges he is convicted of.
In the prosecution’s opening statement, assistant state’s attorney Cyndi Adkins said Prince’s actions were deliberate and premeditated. Illustrating that, she said, was a note he allegedly left for his girlfriend, reading, “if I don’t make it home, please know I tried.”
“This is not somebody who snapped,” Adkins said. “It was cold, calculated and planned.”
Defense attorney John Janowich said the video, while striking, did not offer a complete picture of the event, or of Prince’s state of mind. The defense plans to bring in an expert to testify to his mental state.
“It would be very easy for you to watch the video and close your minds,” Janowich told the jury, which was seated in the ceremonial courtroom’s benches. “The video does not tell the whole story.”
According to the prosecution’s view of events, Prince took a gun to his place of work on Oct. 18, 2017, gathered his coworkers around him and shot them, killing three and wounding two.
Those two he wounded — both shot in the head — took the stand Monday. Speaking through an interpreter, Guillen told the jury how he was running when the bullet hit him.
“I felt something very hot in my head,” he said through the interpreter.
Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Doory asked if Guillen was “emotionally able” to watch the video again; he said he was not. He has seen it three times, he told the jury, and never wanted to see it again.
The bullet entered the back of Guillen’s head and left a scar, which he showed to the jury. He said the injury made him lose 70% of his vision in his right eye and causes him back pain and headaches. He now wears glasses; he did not need to before the shooting.
Guillen was friendly with his other coworkers who were shot. He said that Prince did not often socialize with them.
One of Advanced Granite Solution’s owners, Ibrahim Kucik, said Prince was a skilled granite cutter — capable of operating three large cutting machines at once — when he took the job. Prince had prior experience cutting granite and was only on the job for a few months before the alleged shooting. He said Prince was hard-working and singularly focused on the job when he was at work; he did not socialize much with his coworkers.
“He was one of the best machine operators we ever had,” Kucik said. “He just did not want to stop.”
When someone called Kucik to describe the shooting, he pulled the security camera feed up on his cellphone to see if it was a “bad joke.” Instead, he saw three people dead, he said.
Sosa was also hit by the gunfire. He showed the jury where the bullet entered his head — on the right side, just above his ear.
The wound necessitated a month in the hospital and two surgeries. Still, Sosa said through an interpreter, half of his face “does not work,” and he cannot lift heavy things with the right side of his body anymore.
At several points during his testimony, Sosa had to dry his eyes with tissue.
“I do not remember much, just that I woke up in a hospital,” he said.
Defense attorneys cross-examined the witnesses, asking for clarification on sequences of events and what coworkers Prince was social with on the first day of trial. Defense attorney Marcus Jenkins' line of questioning suggested coworkers Prince was not friendly with were trying to push him out of the company and that they disparaged him.
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The defense also repeatedly objected to the surveillance footage, which was played several times.
Prince’s trial is scheduled to last through the end of next week.
In May 2018, Prince was convicted in Delaware of attempted manslaughter and sentenced to serve 40 years in prison, for shooting a man he had worked with at a used car dealership. The Delaware shooting occurred hours after the shooting at Advanced Granite.