After a Baltimore friend urged him to "spray these country {expletives}," Jeffrey Fowlkes aimed his 9mm semiautomatic handgun at a crowd of partygoers May 20 in Glenelg and began firing, a witness told a Howard County Circuit Court jury yesterday.

Fowlkes, 23, an Army specialist fourth class who was raised in Baltimore, is charged with the murder of Cooksville resident Joseph Tyrone Taylor, 21, who was shot in the back as he fled, and the wounding of two other men, who have since recovered. Three other partygoers were slightly wounded, with pellets from a shotgun that was never found, according to police.

Fowlkes fired once in the air as a fight broke out at the late night party on Tridelphia Road, then dropped his arm and began "firing from right to left," witness Damian Robinson testified yesterday. "I was in shock."

Robinson said a companion of Fowlkes stood behind him as he fired, shining a flashlight on faces in the crowd. Fowlkes had an expression on his face "like he was enjoying what he was doing -- a kind of nasty grin," said Robinson, 20, a car salesman who lives in Glenelg.

In his opening statement Thursday, defense attorney Richard Winelander described Fowlkes as a peacemaker who tried to stop the fight by firing into the air and did not intend to kill anyone.

Winelander said someone pulled Fowlkes's arm down as he fired and told the jury that shots also were fired from other guns that had not been found.

Winelander accused the county police of "supressing evidence" by not producing the other weapons.

He said only one partygoer, William Shird Jr., of Baltimore, a friend of the defendant's, was actually struck with a bullet from Fowlkes's gun.

Because no bullets were recovered from the dead man or from the leg of another wounded man, Cooksville resident Ronald Miles Jr., there was no proof that they were shot by Fowlkes, Winelander said.

Prosecutor Kate O'Donnell countered that Fowlkes fired into the crowd deliberately and that his weapon was illegal and unregistered.

Other witnesses said they saw the gun being fired in the air or did not see who was shooting. Several also said they heard a shotgun blast as the handgun was being fired.

About 200 people were attending the party, a joint birthday celebration for the adult sons of Bertha Burgess, a registered nurse. Witnesses said the first fight, over a beer cooler, broke out after midnight and soon involved more than half a dozen men.

Fowlkes was arrested by county police several miles from the scene.

Fowlkes, who was assigned to Fort Lee, Va., is being held in the Howard County Detention Center in lieu of $500,000 bond.