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Man Says Whites Shot Black Woman

February 28, 2002

YORK, Pa. (AP) _ A man who saw a black woman shot dead by a white mob during a 1969 race riot testified Wednesday that her Cadillac was riddled with bullets when the shooting stopped.

``It was just like somebody sat it out in a field for target practice,″ Gary Richard King said.

King testified during a pretrial hearing on a motion to drop murder charges against William C. Ritter, one of nine defendants in the July 21, 1969, killing of Lillie Belle Allen of Aiken, S.C.

Former York Mayor Charlie Robertson is also charged with murder in the slaying. Robertson, who was then a police officer, is accused of handing out bullets and encouraging whites to kill blacks before Allen was shot. He has denied the allegations.

Prosecutors say Allen, 27, was gunned down during a 10-day race riot when her car entered a neighborhood controlled by a white gang.

King told the court he was with Ritter at the time and saw Ritter shoot at the car.

Ritter has admitted shooting a .22-caliber rifle, but his defense attorney, Albert Barnes, argued Wednesday that Ritter’s actions did not amount to murder, and that prosecutors had ``failed to show where (Ritter) aided, abetted or otherwise worked with the other defendants.″

York County Common Pleas Judge John C. Uhler is also considering motions to drop charges against Robertson and other defendants and grant a separate trial for Robertson. The judge did not say when he would rule on the motions.

No trial date has been set.

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