The defense had no questions for the witness Robert J. Pierce, nor did they wish to see him in court.
For Robert J. Pierce appeared in D.C. Superior Court yesterday in a wheelchair accompanied by a nurse. He was paralyzed from the waist down and has lost the use of his right hand and wrist after a Hanafi Muslim gunman allegedly fired a shotgun blast of buckshot into his back while Pierce was held hostage at the District Building on March 9.
There was "an exchange of fire" between his captors and the police, Pierce said, and "I felt that I was hit. I was paralyzed from the wasit down. I was bleeding from the right arm."
He wore a short-sleeved, red-and-blue-striped shirt in court. There was a splint on his right arm and he held his right hand under his chin with his left hand.
"Our captors permitted two of the women to drag me to where the police were," he continued. "I went down in an elevator and then an ambulance took me to the George Washington Medical Center, where I still am."
He paused and shook his head as he said he was still in the hospital.
Pierce said he thought he could identify one of his two Hanafi captors, but that he was not sure. Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio did not permit him to make this uncertain identification in the presence of the jury.
There were no questions from the defense.
Although he spent only 19 minutes in the courtroom, Pierce, 52, a retired State Department official who was working as a City Council intern at the time he was injured, has become one of the main figures in the trial of 12 Hanafi Muslims on charges of murder, kidnaping and conspiracy in the takeover of the District Building and two other Washington buildings.
This is because he was struck during an exchange of gunfire between the Hanafis, who were holding him and other persons hostage, and police, who were barricaded in the main hallway outside the City Council offices.
Two prosecution witnesses have testified in the trial, which is now in its sixth week, that they saw Abdul Muzikir, 22, also known as Marquette Anthony Hall, fire a blast into the hostages as they lay face down on the floor of the office where they were being held.
The defense has suggested repeatedly that Pierce was wounded by police fire.
A surgeon has testified that Pierce's wounds, which he said were the "size of a silver dollar," apparently were made by an object that smashed through his arm and then entered his back.
A police firearms expert has told the jury that fragments taken from Pierce's body were the kind of ammunition used by the Hanafis, not by the police.
This prior testimony heightened the interest in Pierce's appearance in court.
Some of the 12 defense attorneys told the two prosecutors shortly before he was wheeled into the courtroom that they would agree to the substance of his testimony - that he had been shot at the District Building - without his having to appear. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Tuohey III said this offer to stipulate had come too late.
Before the jury was brought in, Harry T. Alexander, a former Superior Court judge who is defending Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, 55, alleged leader of the Hanafis, asked the the white-uniformed nurse sitting near Pierce's side be excused unless her presence was "absolutely necessary."
"This man is hospitalized permanently for the moment," said prosecutor Tuohey.
"She'll stay just where she is, gentlemen, just where she is," said Judge Nunzio.
Pierce was not the only casualty at the District Building. Maurice Williams, 24, a radio reporter, was killed there. City Council member Marion S. Barry Jr. and Mack W. Cantrell, a building guard, both were wounded by the same shotgun blast that killed Williams.
All 12 defendants are charged with the murder of Williams even though only Abdul Muzikir and Abdul Nuh, 28, also known as Mark E. Gibson, are accused of taking a direct part in the events at the District Building.
The murder charge against all 12 arises from the fact that all are charged with a conspiracy to force officials to turn over to them for purposes of revenge five Black Muslims convicted of murdering seven members of the family of Hamaas Abdul Khaalis in 1973.
The 12 are accused of taking over the District Building, the international headquarters of B'nai B'rith, the Jewish service organization, and the Islamic Center in furtherance of this alleged conspiracy. In all, 149 hostages were taken at the three locations March 9 and held until March 11.
To prove the murder charges against all 12, the government must prove that all 12 were part of the alleged conspiracy.
LaValle E. Thomas, William W. Rauschelback, Alan S. Winter and Richard S. Halberstein were among the District Building hostages who testified yesterday in addition to Pierce.
All testified that Muzikir and Nuh spoke of "Hamaas" several times during the incident and some testified that they were told that persons being held at the B'nai B'rith building would be killed if police made an effort to rush the City Council offices.
At one point during cross examination by Alexander of Winter, a Council employee who is the son of Council member Nadine Winter Touhey rose to contend that Alexander was asking questions improperly.
This set off a flurry of defense objections. As a result, Judge Nunzio sent the jury from the courtroom and then warned defense attorneys John Mercer and Stephen J. O'Brien and Touhey that he would hold them all in contempt of court unless they behaved with decorum.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin J. Linsky told Nunzio the government hoped to finish its case this week with wiretap evidence.