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D.C. Gunman Found Sane, May Go Free

April 29, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The gunman in the death of a local boxer has been declared sane and could soon be freed, two months after he was found innocent of murder by reason of insanity.

Doctors at St. Elizabeths Hospital recently concluded that Tomar Cooper Locker, 25, shows no sign of major psychiatric problems and requires no treatment. He was charged with opening fire in a crowded lobby of the Washington Hospital Center on Feb. 5, 1998, killing Reuben Bell and wounding five bystanders.

Locker had long blamed Bell for the April 1994 killing of his girlfriend, Keisha Cragg. Locker was shot eight times in the attack. Bell was never charged with Cragg’s killing.

During the trial, a D.C. Superior Court jury was swayed by a defense psychiatrist who said the crime was a split-second reaction to post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, more recently, doctors concluded he was sane. Those findings came as no surprise to prosecutors, who had argued all along that he knew exactly what he was doing.

``It’s basically ridiculous,″ said assistant U.S. attorney Peter R. Zeidenberg.

Superior Court Judge Lee Satterfield had sentenced Locker to serve 20 to 60 months in prison on a charge of carrying a pistol without a license, the maximum under the law. But because Locker has already been in custody for 26 months, he is eligible for immediate parole.

On Friday, Satterfield released Locker from the hospital’s custody. The parole board could require Locker to serve all 60 months, but defense attorneys hope to persuade the board to release him within two weeks.

``This is not a case where it’s a thug beating the system,″ defense attorney Bernard S. Grimm said.

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