"I put my hand on his chest, I felt no movement," the police officer testified.
"You observed no signs of life?" asked the prosecutor.
"No, sir," said the police officer.
The policeman was Officer Malcolm L. Hall and he testified in D.C. Superior Court yesterday about what he found when he reached the body of a man lying in the fifth floor hallway of the District Building, the seat of the city's government, about 2:40 p.m. last March 9.
Hall said he later learned the man he tried to help was Maurice Williams, 24, a reported for radio station WHUR, killed that afternoon by a blast of double-O buckshot.
Hall said he glanced towards his partner, Officer Carroll Hebron. He said Hebron was helping a man slumped by the elevator who was "covered with blood." The man was Mack W. Cantrell, a building guard, hit by the same blast that killed Williams.
Hall said he tried to reach Hebron but was forced to take cover when a gunshot came through the doors leading to the offices of City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker and other Council members. Then, he said, he ran into the Council Chamber.
"People were screaming," he told the jury. "They were saying, 'Marion Barry has been shot . . . We need an ambulance.'"
The policeman said Barry, himself a member of the City Council, was sitting in a chair and had "a white handkerchief up to his chest area. I could see he was conscious I told them an ambulance was on the way."
Hall and Hebron were the first two metropolitan police officers to arrive at the District Building when it was taken over by Hanafi Muslim gunmen Hall was the first witness called to testify about the most serious phase of a case in which 12 Hanafis are charged with murder, armed kidnaping, assault with intent to kill and related offenses in connection with sieges at the District Building and two other downtown locations.
The 12 gunmen took 149 hostages in all. More than 100 were captured at the international headquarters of B'nai B'rith, the Jewish service organization, at 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Eleven were taken at the Islamic Center at 2551 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Fifteen hostages were captured at the District Building.
Almost all were held from March 9 until the early morning hours of March 11, when the Hanafis surrendered.
The District Building was the only place where anyone died. The victim was Maurice Williams.
Besides Councilman Barry and Cantrell, the building guard, Robert J. Pierce also was shot and wounded at the District Building. Wesley A. Hymes was wounded by a gunshot at the B'nai B'rith building. Several other persons were stabbed or beaten at the sites.
The government charges that the murder, the assaults and the kidnapings occurred as part of a conspiracy to compel officials to turn over to Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, 55, alleged leader of the takeovers, five Black Muslims convicted of murdering seven members of his family in January, 1973.
Only two Hanafis took part in the siege at the District Building, according to the charges. They are Abdul Muzikir, 22, also known as Marquette Anthony Hall, and Abdul Nuh, 28, also known as Mark E. Gibson.
Muzikir is charge with having fired the blast that killed Williams. The other 11 defendants are charged with felony murder in the first-degree in the death. The prosecution's theory is that all were acting as one in the takeovers and that all are therefore responsible, as a matter of law, for William's death.
Officer Hall said he had never been on the fifth floor of the District Building before he and Officer Hebron responded there on March 9.
"I ran up the left stairway and he ran up the right," he said. "As we got to each floor, I would look over to see if he was there. I got kind of used to seeing Officer Hebron, so when we got to the fifth floor, all I really saw was the man lying on the floor and the building guard sitting by the elevator."
Hall said he "ran directly to the man in the hallway and knelt down. His eyes were open and he was perfectly still. He was lying on his back with his arms over his head."
It was then that he felt William's chest for signs of life and found none, the policeman testified.
He said that when he tried to reach Hebron to assist him with Cantreil and was forced back by a gunshot, he glanced at the doors leading to the offices of the Council members.
"There was a group of holes about 6 1/2 feet high in the doorway," he said.
Hall said he ducked into a sheltered area where there was a door with a frosted glass window. That frosted glass made him nervous, he said, because he still did not know what was going on. That was when he raced into the Council Chamber.
Having assured the people there that an ambulance was on the way, he asked if there was another way out of the chamber except through the main doors, Hall said. He said a building maintenance man showed him into an adjoining conference room.This was the room with the frosted glass door that had made him nervous when he was on the hallway side of it and had no idea what was behind it.
From the conference room, the policeman related, he was able to open a door into Council Chairman Tucker's office.
"As soon as I opened the door, I heard a scream and I saw approximately 10 to 15 women crouched under the desks and under coats," Hall said. "As soon as they saw who I was, they started to run past me one by one. They all got out."
Hall said he braced chairs against the doors leading into Tucker's office after the women had fled and then took up a watch in the same frosted-glass doorwary. By this time, Officer Hebron had carried Cantrell down from the fifth floor and Hall momentarily was alone.
Hall said that the barricade unit of the police department's special operations unit arrived shortly, and that its members pushed heavy tables into the hallway and took up positions behind them.
He said he heard three shots fired from the area of Tucker's office before the barricade unit arrived and one burst of automatic weapons fire afterwards. He said the situation remained the same for the next 36 hours.