Eight months after the shooting, the right side of Detective Robert McDaniel's face is sunken and cast downward, starting next to his mouth where the bullet entered and broke his jaw. His speech is thick and slurred.

But yesterday, in a Prince George's County courtroom, it was the veteran police officer's memory that mattered most.

McDaniel was among two men wounded in the armed robbery of Stoney's restaurant in Clinton Oct. 11 in which two other men were shot to death execution-style. Yesterday he was the opening witness in the first of five scheduled murder trials stemming from the late-night holdup.

"You are about to hear about one of the most outrageous crimes to be committed in the county over the last several months," prosecutor Deborah Johnston told the circuit court jurors sitting before Judge Vincent J. Femia.

Then, McDaniel testified, sometimes haltingly, about a gunman who was quick on the trigger despite pleas for calm, about a $300 stickup that left two men dead and about what it feels like to be shot point-blank in the face.

"There was a lot of vibration and ringing," he testified. "It sounds like you're inside a drum that someone's banging on."

It was after Stoney's 11:30 p.m. closing time. McDaniel, off-duty, was still in the restaurant with his friend Allan Stone, the owner, and four others: manager Kevin Shelley, chef Arnold Batson, a bartender and a waitress. McDaniel, a county police officer for 16 years, said he was chatting with Shelley while the others tended to the evening's last small chores.

Suddenly Batson moved toward the front doors, McDaniel testified.

"I sensed something was amiss," he said. He said he drew a revolver from his ankle holster, held it behind his leg and waited.

Then he saw Batson coming back. A robber had taken the chef in a headlock and was pressing a 9mm pistol to his right temple. Another holdup man walked behind them, McDaniel said. "They were yelling not to look at them, to get down on the floor. I tried to calm the situation as much as I could."

He identified the second robber as James W. Edmonds, 25, the lone defendant in the trial that started yesterday. The alleged gunman and three others charged in the case are scheduled for separate trials.

McDaniel said that he and others urged the robbers not to panic, that no one was looking at them, they could take the money. "As I tried to get on the floor, he shot me," McDaniel said, meaning the first holdup man.

"I was shot right here," he said.

He pointed to his face. "I don't think I really knew I was shot," McDaniel said. "But it was hard for me to talk. My jaw was broken . . . . I got down on the floor and I concealed my weapon under my stomach . . . . The man that shot me yelled at me to roll over." Then: "I rolled back over . . . and I realized I'd been shot because I could taste blood at that time."

The gunman took McDaniel's pistol, the officer testified. He said he did not resist. "I was losing strength then," he said. "I knew there wasn't anything I could do, anyway."

Several minutes seemed to pass, he said, "then I remember getting kicked." Then more time went by. "Then Allan {Stone} put his hand on my stomach to see how bad I was hurt." The two robbers had left.

Stone followed McDaniel to the witness stand yesterday.

After shooting McDaniel, the gunman shot Stone in the right elbow. Stone said he sprawled on the floor and shut his eyes as the robbers yelled for money, ordering no one to move or to look at them.

In a while, he said, "there was no noise. I was going to get up." But he had not heard the front doors open. "I thought, 'My God, they're still here! Where are they?' So I just laid there. And then I heard, 'Pop! Pop!' Two gunshots." Then he heard the robbers flee out the door.

Elsewhere in the restaurant, Batson, 27, and Shelley, 28, had been killed, one bullet each to the head.

Stone, bleeding, said he called for help. "There are people down!" he recalled telling the 911 call-taker. "We need help right away!"