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Ray Lewis Trial: 2000

Prosecution's Murder Case Collapses

Jury selection for the trial began on May 15. Before opening statements were made Judge Bonner ruled that a statement given to police by Ray Lewis after the incident, and now acknowledged to be false, could be introduced in evidence against him. The prosecution, led by Fulton County district attorney Paul Howard, began the presentation of its case on May 27. Howard acknowledged that no witness would testify to having seen Ray Lewis with a knife, but that the testimony would show involvement in the fighting that resulted in the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. The defense emphasized that no witnesses saw any of the three defendants with a knife, that two men known to have fled in the limousine had never been traced, and that defense witnesses would contradict the testimony of Duane Fassett, the limousine driver and chief prosecution witness. Lewis, the defense would argue, was only trying to stop the fight.

In the second week of the trial the prosecution case was weakened when four of its witnesses failed to identify Lewis as an aggressor in the fight, and it disintegrated when Duane Fassett took the stand. In a statement to police Fassett had said that he saw Lewis punch one of the victims, and that in the limousine as it left he had heard Oakley say, "I stabbed mine" and heard Sweeting reply, "I stabbed mine too." But on the witness stand Fassett said that he had never seen Lewis throw a punch, and that he appeared to be trying to break up the fight. To the surprise of legal observers, District Attorney Howard didn't even attempt to impeach the witness by confronting him with his earlier statement.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentRay Lewis Trial: 2000 - Victims Stabbed During Brawl, The Case Against Ray Lewis, Prosecution's Murder Case Collapses