Three nervous first- and second-graders took the witness stand yesterday and pointed to the defendant as the man who fatally shot their teacher last fall.

Al Lewis, 47, is charged in Recorder's Court with first-degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Bettye McCaster, 45.

Seven other children who saw the shooting said they did not see the killer in the courtroom.

McCaster was killed Nov. 10 as her class of 29 children watched. She died of five gunshot wounds to the head.

"She got shot," was 7-year-old Robert Snow's terse memory of the incident as he twisted in the swivel witness chair during questioning by Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor John Thompson Jr.

The children's answers were oftene inaudible. Some cried after they stepped down.

Many of the students suffered severe psychological disturbance after the shooting, and special counseling was begun.

In corss-examinations, chief defense lawyer Wilfred Rice gently tried to cast doubts on the chidlren's identificaions, suggesting that promptings from parents, police or prosecutors might have planted ideas in young minds.

The children, accompanied by their mothers, were escorted individually by Thompson into the courtroom and up to the bench of Judge Patricia Boyle to take an oath specially altered for them.

Thompson said the number of children subpoenaed five to testify maybe unique in legal hisotry, though he wasn't sure if all 29 would have to testify.