Trial opens against defendant in shooting

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Carlus L. Johnson shot and wounded three people in Anne Arundel County's most crime-ridden neighborhood in a dispute over whether one of the victims gave authorities information about another crime, prosecutors asserted yesterday at the start of Johnson's attempted-murder trial.

Assistant State's Attorney Thomas J. Fleckenstein told jurors that Johnson's brother, Dedrick C. Johnson - also charged in the May 11, 2001, shootings in the Pioneer City section of Severn but scheduled for trial next month - accused one of the victims of "being a snitch" in another case.

As the argument escalated, Fleckenstein contended, Reginald L. Turner, 23, was shot in the chest, his brother Raymond C. Turner, 16, was shot in the leg and Edward G. Howard, 29, was grazed by a bullet.

Fleckenstein told jurors and Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner that he has no idea what some of his witnesses will say, acknowledging that witness cooperation in Pioneer City is a problem.

Johnson faces eight charges, including attempted murder.

Defense lawyer John M. McKenna painted his client as wrongly charged. A group of men from Washington who had come to Pioneer City to rob people fired the shots, he told the jury. He said no witness will swear to seeing Johnson shoot.

All five men lived in the troubled community near Fort Meade. Three witnesses in the case are in jail, and the court has issued a body attachment order to ensure that a fourth witness appears, prosecutors said outside the courtroom.

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