A Rosedale drug dealer's girlfriend told a Baltimore County jury yesterday that she peeked through a sweater and saw him shot in the head after four armed men had taken over their home.
Accused as the gunman in the case, Presentaci Cartajena, a 21-year-old native of Puerto Rico who live in Brooklyn, N.Y., is on trial, charged with murder, robbery, assault and use of a handgun.
Bonnie Green, 25, and now living in an undisclosed location, said she moved into the townhouse in the 6000 block of Lynette Road the night before Robert "Trini" Collins, 28, was killed. The slaying occurred Dec. 23, 1991.
Mr. Collins' pager went off that afternoon and he left, she said, returning 45 minutes later with four men. She said she knew each of the men except the defendant, whom she later picked out from a police photo array. The intruders took jewelry from her and made her move a dresser as they searched for cash, drugs and guns, she said. They took her and her cousin, who was staying at the house, and had them sit on the steps as they beat Mr. Collins, who was bound at the wrists and ankles, she said.
Ms. Green said the men ordered her and her cousin to the basement, put a blanket over the window and piled clothes over their heads -- "stomping" her head back to the floor when she tried to raise it. But she peeked anyway and saw Mr. Collins "thrown down the steps" and shot in the head, 5 feet from where she lay.
Ms. Green identified Mr. Cartajena yesterday as the gunman, and Detective Dean Brubaker said she had named him as the shooter for the first time last month. Mr. Cartajena was arrested in New York City, escaped in March 1992, and was recaptured in June 1992.
In statements given to New York detectives, Mr. Cartajena said he had agreed to ride to Baltimore with some men from New York.
Assistant Public Defender A. Stewart Lyons told the jury in his opening statement that his client admitted to having been at the house but was retrieving coats when he heard three shots. According to Mr. Cartajena's statements, one of the men said "boomacha -- that means we got him."
Also charged in the case are: Michael Dawkins, 23, of Brooklyn, who is in custody there; Edwin "Cachaco" Pile, 20, formerly of Woodyear Street in Baltimore, who has a trial date in August; and Sean "Trini" Sanford, 20, formerly of the 3500 block of Reisterstown Road, who is being sought.