[sixties-l] Defense rests in Al-Amin (Rap) trial (fwd)

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Date: Tue Mar 12 2002 - 16:50:58 EST

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    Date: Fri, 08 Mar 2002 00:32:19 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Defense rests in Al-Amin (Rap) trial

    Defense rests in Al-Amin (Rap) trial

    [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 3.7.2002]

    Updates in the Al-Amin trial

    UPDATED: 3:17 PM
      Defense rests, case could go to jury Friday
      Witness says man firing handgun was not Al-Amin
      Witness says he heard pistol shots before rifle fire
      Witness mentions another suspect: 'Mustapha'

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

    Defense rests, case could go to jury Friday

    In a surprise move, the defense team in the murder case of Jamil Abdullah
    Al-Amin rested its case minutes ago.

    Prosecutor Robert McBurney said he had no rebuttal witnesses.

    The jury is expected to start deliberating Friday after closing arguments
    in the death-penalty case.

    "That completes the testimony and the defense in the case of Jamil Abudllah
    Al-Amin," said Fulton County Judge Stephanie Manis.

    Lead defense lawyer Jack Martin asked that closing arguments be postponed
    until Monday.

    Manis refused, saying it would be unfair to a sequestered jury.

    Al-Amin, who has said he is the victim of a government conspiracy, never
    testified. Martin said the defense advised Al-Amin to stay silent.

    Al-Amin, 58, is accused of murdering Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy Ricky
    Kinchen and wounding Deputy Aldranon English on March 16, 2000.

    The deputies had a warrant for Al-Amin's arrest on relatively minor felony
    charges in Cobb County.

    Witness says man firing handgun was not Al-Amin

    A West End man testified today that the person he saw firing a handgun at
    the location where two deputies were shot was not Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin,
    the Muslim cleric on trial for a cop-killing.

    Imhotep Shaka, a British citizen, testified in Fulton County Superior Court
    that he could tell from the gunman's size that he was not Al-Amin, the
    former H. Rap Brown. Shaka said after hearing gunfire he loked out his
    window and could see the man at the intersection of Oak Street and West End
    Place. While he cou could not make out the man's race, Shaka said he was
    "absolutely positive" that the shooter was not Al-Amin, whom he spoke with
    reguarly in the neighborhood.

    "It was not same stature," he said. "Jamil is tall and slender."

    Shaka said he then checked on his children and about a minute later saw a
    black car speed away from the shooting scene outside Al-Amin's grocery. He
    said he didn't see anyone else, including Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy
    Ricky Kinchen, lying in the intersection, where law officers discovered him
    a few minutes after the shooting around 10 p.m. on March 16, 2000. Shaka
    said the gunman fired about three rounds toward West End Park. He said he
    could see the muzzle flashes.

    Shaka said he didn't report what he had seen to the swarm of police outside
    because he was afraid of "harassment" because he is black. He said no
    officers knocked on his door looking for witnesses to the shooting.

    Kinchen and his partner, Aldranon English, who recovered from his wounds
    and identified Al-Amin as the shooter, also are black.

    Robert McBurney, the lead prosecutor, questioned Shaka why he had never
    reported that he saw a shooter other than Al-Amin since Al-Amin has been in
    jail for nearly two years.

    Shaka said his "experience in life as a black man" made him fear harassment.

    Several other witnesses who lived on or near West End Place seemed to
    contradict English's previous testimony that Al-Amin opened fire first with
    the Ruger. Witnesses said that they heard what appeared to be pistol fire
    before hearing the louder reports of the Ruger assault rifle. Two witnesses
    also testified that they saw a white van backing away from the crime scene
    almost immediately after the shooting.

    Fareed Abdul Haqq Jihad, who worships at the West End mosque where Al-Amin
    is the imam -- or prayer leader -- said he saw a man shorter than the
    6-foot-5-inch Al-Amin get into the van. "I didn't se anybody else out there
    but me," he said.

    The unidentified man, who had been walking up West End Place, was wearing a
    light brown jacket or shirt, Jihad said. That matches English's testimony
    describing his assailant, whom he identified as Al-Amin garments. But
    English said Al-Amin sped away in his black Mercedes.

    Al-Amin was arrested in Alabama four days after the shooting where his
    bullet-riddled black 1978 Mercedes-Benz was recovered. Forensic experts
    said they linked bullets recovered from the Mercedes to English's and
    Kinchen's handguns. Ballistic tests also linked a 9mm bullet recovered from
    Kinchen's body and .223-caliber shell casings found at the West End
    shooting scene to a Browning semi-automatic pistol and a Ruger
    semi-automatic assault rifle.

    Federal agents said they recovered the pistol and rifle in Alabama along a
    trail where they said Al-Amin fled after firing at U.S. Marshals before he
    was captured.

    Witness says he heard pistol shots before rifle fire
    A West End resident testified he heard pistol fire ring out in his
    neighborhood before he heard the louder sounds of an assault rifle during
    the shootout that killed a Fulton County Sheriff's deputy nearly two years ago.

    Frank Thomas, a truck driver, testified today in the murder trial of Muslim
    cleric Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, who once was known as H. Rap Brown. Thomas'
    version of events contradicted earlier police accounts.

    Deputy Aldranon English, who was wounded in the shootout, said Al-Amin
    fired at him and his partner, Deputy Ricky Kinchen, with an assault rifle
    before they returned fire with handguns.

    Thomas said the first shots sounded like firecrackers, but the second
    barrage of shots was louder and sounded like a rifle.

    Prosecuter Ron Dixon argued that when Thomas was interviewed by a
    representative of the district attorneys office prior to the trial, Thomas
    said he was working in South Carolina at the time of the shootout. Thomas
    denied saying that.

    Witness mentions another suspect: 'Mustapha'
    An ex-convit defended a cleric in court Wednesday by offering up another
    possible suspect in the killing of a Fulton County sheriff's deputy: the
    mysterious "Mustapha."

    George Wilson, a heavy equipment operator, testified in the murder trial of
    Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin in Fulton County Superior Court that a man he called
    "Mustapha" was packing a gun at the mosque in West End during the fifth --
    and final -- prayer of the day, about an hour before the shooting on the
    street outside. Deputy Ricky Kinchen died from wounds received in the
    shootout and Deputy Aldranon English was wounded.

    Al-Amin, the imam or prayer leader, missed the last prayer, said Wilson,
    who was living in the mosque rent-free at the time and heard the shooting.

    Prosecutor Robert McBurney reminded Wilson he had interviewed him at his
    house, in which the West End man had "Free Imam Jamil" posters. "You didn't
    say anything that night about a 'Mustapha' did you?" McBurney said.

    "You didn't ask," said Wilson, arching his eyebrows and flicking a small

    Wilson acknowledged several felony convictions in New York, including a
    charge of attempted murder in 1972, which was plea-bargained to aggravated
    assault; possession of stolen property in 1992; and a guilty plea in 1997,
    in which he said he couldn't recall the offense.

    He also testified Amin was dressed in a thobe, the traditional long shirt
    many Muslims wear, when he conducted the fourth prayer service,
    contradicting another witness who said Al-Amin wore bib overalls for the

    English has testified Al-Amin was wearing clothing similar to the thobe on
    March 16, 2000, when, he said, Al-Amin fired on him and Kinchen, who died
    from his wounds, with an assault rifle. He was arrested in overalls four
    days later in Alabama after federal agents said they spotted him in
    thobe-like clothing often worn over trousers.

    Four witnesses, who journeyed from White Hall, Ala., where Al-Amin was
    arrested, contradicted previous testimony from FBI agents. Three of the
    witnesses, wo said they didn't know Al-Amin, testified they saw the federal
    agents firing automatic weapons toward the woods. The agents said Al-Amin
    had fired at them and they didn't return fire.

    Kourtney Davis said he saw FBI agents firing several shots at an unarmed
    man wearing a white shirt who was running through the woods. Another
    witness, Julia Mae Brazil, who didn't see the shooting, said she later saw
    "someone dressed up in white" emerge from the woods.

    English said he had shot the gunman he later identified as Al-Amin, but the
    imam was arrested uninjured.

    Defense lawyers tried to have a Atlanta police 911 operator testify
    Wednesday about three emergency calls she said were related to a wounded
    gunman who might have been involved.

    Superior Court Judge Stephanie Manis barred most of the testimony as
    "unreliable" hearsay, pointing out the callers all were unidentified.

    She permitted the operator, Helen Lane, to testify about one call in which
    the caller said a wounded man was begging for a ride several blocks from
    the West End mosque 90 minutes after the attack.

    Also Wednesday, pharmacologist David Benjamin testified the four milligrams
    of morphine and other drugs given English after the shooting raised
    questions about his identification of Al-Amin.

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