Man, 22, gets 20-year term in shooting


A 22-year-old Annapolis man was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for shooting a man last summer, but the defendant's lawyer said he has new evidence that may prove his client is innocent.

Carlos Jeffrey Wallace of the 1200 block of Crows Nest Court was sentenced by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner to 15 years for assault with intent to maim, a concurrent 15 years for attempted armed robbery and a consecutive five years for use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.

A jury convicted Wallace of shooting John Courtney Fargher about 1:40 a.m. Aug. 31 at Clay and Obery streets. Mr. Fargher, 27, of the 900 block of Blue Fox Way, Arnold, told jurors in a two-day trial in May that he was shot in the cheek as he jumped into the bed of a friend's Toyota pickup truck.

About four shots were fired at the truck as it sped away from Wallace, who had come after Mr. Fargher with a pistol, according to testimony.

Police never found the weapon used to shoot Mr. Fargher.

But H. Richard Duden III, Wallace's attorney, said that while the jury was deliberating the case, an inmate at the Anne Arundel County jail, Eric. A. Offutt, told his client that he had witnessed the shooting and knew someone else shot Mr. Fargher.

Mr. Offutt named a man killed months earlier by his girlfriend in a murder-suicide in Annapolis, Mr. Duden said.

Judge Lerner denied a request by Mr. Duden for a new trial, but the lawyer hopes ballistic tests by police on the gun used in the murder-suicide will show that it was also used to shoot Mr. Fargher.

Mr. Duden said that if the gun turns out to be the same weapon he will again file a motion requesting a new trial.

Zel,.5l Mr. Duden said Mr. Offutt, who is in jail awaiting trial on drug charges, had not come forward sooner because he was living out of state and was unaware that police had arrested Wallace for the shooting.

It took the jury 10 hours to reach a verdict, and Mr. Duden believes Mr. Offutt's story could have changed the outcome.

"I think Mr. Offutt's testimony could have made a real difference with the jury because the case was so close to begin with," Mr. Duden said.

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