Slain Man's Own Words Help Lead to Conviction

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 6, 2008

On a bitterly cold night in January, DeWayne Dunmore lay facedown in the desolate parking lot of a Forestville office park, bleeding from four bullet wounds.

Dunmore, 37, called 911 on his cellphone. "I've been shot," he reports in the taped phone call. After he responds to a dispatcher's request for a street address, Dunmore says, "Yeah, I'm dying." His voice becomes weak. "I'm dying, I'm dying."

"Do you know who did it?" the dispatcher asked.

His voice clear, Dunmore responded, "Benjamin Perry."

The dramatic recording of Dunmore's final moments was a key piece of evidence for Prince George's County prosecutors as they sought to convince a jury this week that Benjamin Perry Jr. fatally shot Dunmore just before 2 a.m. Jan. 25.

Yesterday, after deliberating for about four hours, a Circuit Court jury in Upper Marlboro convicted Perry, 37, of second-degree murder and two weapons violations, acquitting him of first-degree murder. Perry, of the Hyattsville area, had been convicted of a homicide in Prince George's in 1988. Court records of that case were not immediately available yesterday.

The murder was almost captured on police videotape.

County police investigators were conducting surveillance on a Forestville office park where they suspected illegal gambling was taking place. Sgt. Charles Hamby II testified that he was in an unmarked vehicle across the street from the office park, operating the video camera.

The grainy, black-and-white videotape, submitted as evidence by prosecutors, shows six men emerging from one of the buildings about 12 minutes before 2 a.m. One man gets into a Range Rover and drives away; another man gets into a large sedan and drives off.

The rest of the men move just out of camera range.

Hamby testified that he heard gunshots. On the video, one man is seen running to take cover behind a large sport-utility vehicle. Moments later, he appears to relax and then walks out from behind the vehicle. Then a minivan leaves the parking lot, followed by a Cadillac. Hamby reported on his police radio that a possible suspect was driving away in the minivan.

Detective Joseph Espinosa testified that he was inside an unmarked pickup, helping with the surveillance. Initially, Espinosa joined officers in another unmarked vehicle and a patrol car in chasing the minivan. Espinosa pulled off and returned to the office park, where he came upon Dunmore, lying on his stomach, bleeding. He had been shot twice in the back, in the back of a leg and in the hip.

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