UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — A man upset about being thrown out of a restaurant returned to exact revenge by shooting the off-duty Maryland state trooper who was working security there and had told him to leave, a prosecutor said Monday.
Jurors heard opening statements in the trial of Cyril Cornelius Williams, who is charged with first-degree murder in the June 2010 death of Wesley Brown, a Maryland State Trooper who did part-time security at an Applebee's restaurant in Forestville.
Prosecutor Tara Harrison said an agitated and vengeful Williams shot Brown after he and another officer asked him to leave the bar. But defense lawyer William Brennan said there was no DNA, fingerprint evidence or definitive physical identification linking his client to the killing.
"Getting thrown out of an Applebee's does not equate with first-degree murder," Brennan said. "The evidence is lacking."
After being kicked out of the bar, Harrison said, Williams swung at another officer working security. The officer began to chase after Williams, but Brown urged him to let it go.
She said Williams then called a friend, Anthony Milton, and arranged to pick up a gun.
"Remember that gun I lent you?" Harrison quoted Williams as saying. "Remember that .45? I need that."
Harrison said Williams picked up the gun from Milton's home and immediately returned to the restaurant. He parked in an apartment complex across the street from the Applebee's, approached the restaurant and fired multiple shots at Brown, 24, who had stepped outside to make a phone call, the prosecutor said.
"Cyril Williams, the defendant, emptied his .45, firing at the door of Applebee's," she said.
Harrison said shell casings and ballistics are consistent with the weapon Williams used.
Milton has since pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact for his role in hiding the gun in his backyard. Brennan told jurors that Milton had lied to authorities when he was first questioned and that the prosecution case was based on the testimony of jailhouse snitches and criminals with questionable credibility.
"Are they trying to make deals?" Brennan asked of the witnesses. "Buy their freedom?"
The trial in Prince George's County Circuit Court is expected to last about a week.