A man who described himself as a friend of Eric Joseph Tirado testified yesterday that Tirado told him he shot Cpl. Theodore D. Wolf twice after being pulled over for speeding on Interstate 95.
Edgar Duvarie told the Howard County Circuit Court jury that he went to Tirado's house in the Bronx, N.Y., during the first week of April last year and that Tirado told him that "he had come from Virginia and on the highway he had shot a police officer."
Tirado, 27, is accused of shooting Corporal Wolf March 29, 1990, as he sat in the trooper's car on the shoulder of I-95 in Jessup.
Mr. Duvarie said he met Tirado and Francisco Rodriguez, 22, also accused in the slaying, at Tirado's house. Mr. Duvarie said Tirado told him that he had gone to Virginia "to pick up some drugs and money."
Rodriguez, who is scheduled to go on trial later, already has a drug conviction. Both defendants were convicted last year of weapons violations.
Tirado said he had stolen a car to get back to New York and that he was driving the stolen Chevrolet Nova early that morning on Interstate 95, according to Mr. Duvarie.
As Rodriguez and Tirado noticed the state trooper, Mr. Duvarie said, "Eric and Francisco started having a conversation based on who would kill the police officer."
"They were both nervous, and they both kept saying 'You do it,' 'No, you do it.'
"In the end, Eric said, 'I'll do it,' " Mr. Duvarie testified.
Mr. Duvarie said Tirado told him that Rodriguez handed him a .357-caliber Magnum handgun. Tirado sat in the front passenger seat as instructed and Rodriguez got in the back seat of the cruiser. Corporal Wolf then began writing the speeding ticket.
When prosecutor Michael Rexroad asked him what happened next, Mr. Duvarie said, "He pulled out the gun and shot the cop."
He said Tirado told him Corporal Wolf straightened up and closed his eyes but said he did not see any blood.
"Then, he shot him again," Mr. Duvarie said.
He said Tirado and Rodriguez drove the stolen car north to the next exit at Lansdowne and ditched it. Tirado then called an ex-girlfriend in New York so she could wire him money, Mr. Duvarie said.
Mr. Duvarie's testimony apparently caught Tirado's lawyer, Mark Van Bavel, off guard. Mr. Van Bavel, who apparently had not been able to contact Mr. Duvarie before the trial, questioned him about his whereabouts for the past year.
With the jury out of the courtroom, Mr. Duvarie acknowledged that he had moved from the Yonkers, N.Y., address on the witness list.
But he said that he often visited relatives who live there and that he never received any messages from Mr. Van Bavel or his associate.
Mr. Duvarie said that he had known Tirado for four or five years and that they worked together as cashiers at a check cashing agency in the Bronx.
He said that Maryland state police had relocated him to a new apartment because of his fear of retribution from Tirado's friends. They also provided him with three beds and other bedroom furniture.
Mr. Van Bavel asked Mr. Duvarie why he was testifying.
"I think it's wrong for anybody to shoot a cop just for getting a ticket," Mr. Duvarie said.