Drug trial witness enters guilty plea to lying under oath


A convicted armed robber and admitted drug dealer pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court to lying under oath during the trial of a man police and prosecutors say is one of Baltimore's major heroin dealers.

In addition to pleading guilty to perjury, Donald Nelson has agreed to tell authorities all he knows about the alleged drug trafficking operation of Linwood "Rudy" Williams. Nelson could get a maximum of 10 years when he is sentenced Jan. 10.

In October 1988, Nelson testified that he was in the car stopped by police officers on Jan. 8, 1988, in the 3200 block of Virginia Avenue, that the $78,400 worth of heroin found in the car belonged to him and that he was the one who struggled with police and escaped. Police officers testified that Mr. Williams had been the man with the heroin.

The October 1988 trial ended in a hung jury. A subsequent trial in April 1989, where Nelson again testified, ended with Mr. Williams being acquitted of heroin possession, assault and resisting arrest.

At that trial, State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms, who prosecuted the case, told the jury that Nelson's testimony was "an insult to you and every citizen in Baltimore City."

Mr. Williams, who also has been acquitted of two separate murders, is awaiting trial in U.S. District Court on federal drug charges. In April, more than 150 federal agents and Baltimore police officers raided 28 locations, seizing $250,000 and nearly $200,000 worth of heroin and cocaine. Those raids led to the arrest of Mr. Williams and 29 others.

Even though Nelson has admitted to perjury, Mr. Williams cannot be retried because of constitutional protections against double jeopardy.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad