Muhammad Questions Sniper Witnesses

The Associated Press
Friday, May 5, 2006; 10:15 PM

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, representing himself in his second trial stemming from the October 2002 Washington-area shootings, questioned witnesses Friday on the point that no one actually saw the gunman.

Prosecutors began their case by asking witnesses to describe the loud, echoing bang of a gunshot and the collapse of the sniper's first victim.

Muhammad, who is acting as his own lawyer, asked if any of the witnesses saw the person who fired the shot.

Kimberly Sadelson, who had been grocery shopping in Wheaton, described hearing "a loud bang" and turning to see James Martin fall down. She said she called 911 and saw Martin lying on the ground.

"He wasn't moving," she said.

Muhammad asked Sadelson whether she had seen who had fired the shot and asked whether she had seen Martin before he was shot. She answered "no" to both questions.

Eber Albanez, who also was outside the grocery store at the time of the shooting, said the shot sounded "quite close." He said he saw Martin grab at his chest and say "please help me" as he fell.

Muhammad asked Albanez if his attention had been focused on putting items in the trunk of his car in the parking lot and if Albanez had seen Martin get shot. Albanez said he did not see Martin get shot.

Muhammad is on trial for the six murders that occurred in Montgomery County, where the shooting spree that killed 10 people and wounded three began and ended. He has been sentenced to death for a Virginia killing.

Sgt. Alan Felsen, a Montgomery County police officer who responded to the Oct. 2, 2002, shooting, testified to finding Martin face down in the parking lot with "a very large bright trail of blood" coming from his body.

Muhammad asked him if he had seen the shooting and whether he knew what direction the shot had come from, and Felsen said he had not.

"I couldn't pinpoint it," Felsen said, referring to the direction of the shot.

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