Lawyers: Lewis Innocent in Killings
ATLANTA (AP) _ Lawyers for Ray Lewis claim that while the All-Pro linebacker was at the scene of two stabbing deaths, he is innocent of killing the men.
Prosecutors counter that he is still in jeopardy of a possible murder trial even if didn’t wield a knife.
Lewis, 24, is charged with two counts of murder in Monday’s deaths of Richard Lollar, 24, and Jacinth ``Shorty″ Baker, 21, both of Decatur. He is being held without bail until at least Feb. 24, and faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.
Lewis’ lawyer, Max Richardson Jr., has acknowledged the Baltimore Ravens linebacker was at the scene of the incident, but didn’t kill anyone.
A spokesman for the Fulton County district attorney said Wednesday that it doesn’t matter whether Lewis actually held the knife _ he can still be tried for murder if he helped the killer or was involved in the fight that preceded the slayings.
``When and if this case goes anywhere, there will be aggravated assault charges added,″ spokesman Erik Friedly said. ``And someone died as result of the assault, so felony murder charges are automatic. It’s like the lookout in a bank robbery getting charged with murder if one of the robbers shoots and kills someone.″
Fulton County associate medical examiner Dr. John Parker said that whoever fatally stabbed the two men during the brawl ``knew what they were doing.″
The wounds were directly to major organs, and both men quickly bled to death, Parker said.
``A lot of times in a fight with a knife, we’ll see just mayhem, people swinging wildly, abrasions, light cuts, things like that,″ Parker said. ``This wasn’t like that. These were well-directed wounds into vital areas.″
Lollar was declared dead at the scene by police responding to a fight call in the Buckhead bar district several hours after the Super Bowl ended seven miles away at the Georgia Dome. Baker was dead on arrival at the hospital.
Parker said that Baker suffered wounds to both his liver and heart, while Lollar’s wounds were concentrated around his heart.
``A typical pocket knife could do this,″ Parker said. ``Whoever did this knew exactly where to hit and do the damage ... you could say they knew something about anatomy.″
Wednesday, Atlanta police would not give any further details about the investigation. Published reports have said that officers are seeking arrest warrants for at least two of Lewis’ friends that were with him Monday.
According to witnesses, the two victims were involved in a fight with six men who fled the scene in a limousine.
Police have released limousine driver Duane Fossett, according to a spokeswoman for All Stretched Out Limousine Service, which is based in Glen Burnie, Md.
Fossett returned to the Baltimore area Wednesday after being questioned and kept in Atlanta on Monday by investigators, said Lorena Cochran.
She said Fossett was instructed not to speak to anyone about the case, and that the company’s owner, Anthony Toskov, accompanied the limousine back to Maryland, but would not be available for comment. No one answered the telephone at Toskov’s home.
In Wednesday’s editions of The Sun in Baltimore, Toskov said that Fossett told him that Lewis did not kill the two men.
Toskov also said that Lewis rented the limo and left Baltimore with some friends. The group stopped in Charlotte, N.C., to pick up a few more friends en route to Atlanta, where Lewis made several appearances leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Charlotte police said Wednesday that Atlanta police had not contacted them about any possible suspects.