Witness in Murder Case Fatally Shot; Man Cooperated With Prosecutors in Death of Music Engineer.
Post, 9 Oct 2008 (Davis & Castaneda ).
A key witness in the upcoming trial of a man charged in the slaying of well-known music engineer Raymond Brown in Prince George's County was fatally shot this week, authorities said yesterday.[More links]
Bobby J. Ennels , 22, an alleged accomplice who had agreed to testify in exchange for leniency, was found shot early Tuesday in a car on a residential street less than a mile from FedEx Field. Another man in the car was also killed, and a woman was wounded.
Authorities allege that Ennels served as a lookout in October 2006 when Brown's Chrysler 300 was hooked up to a tow truck and snatched from outside his home in Largo. Brown, who was known professionally as Scottie Beats, chased the tow truck and was fatally shot.
State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey , who has often spoken about the problem of witness intimidation in Prince George's, said it was premature to say whether Ennels was targeted because he agreed to cooperate in the case.
"I think it's too early to know," Ivey said. "It would be speculation to say it was linked to the other case."
Nonetheless, prosecutors moved quickly to have another cooperating witness in the case moved out of the Prince George's jail. Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. granted a prosecution request yesterday to move Neiman Marcus Edmonds to a jail in Southern Maryland.
Edmonds, 21, had been charged with murder and other crimes in the slaying of Brown. Under an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to a charge of theft over $500 in the case and was expected to testify for the state.
Louis J. Martucci, an attorney for Jamaal G. Alexis , 22, the Landover man charged with murder in the 2006 slaying, did not respond to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.
Ennels's lawyer, V. Daniel Palumbo, also did not return a call seeking comment, nor did Ennels family members respond to messages seeking comment.
In addition to his involvement in the Brown case, Ennels had been charged with drug possession in an incident last year.
Last month, Ennels pleaded guilty to theft for his role in the attack that took Brown's life. As part of the plea agreement, he was to testify against Alexis, who is accused of driving the tow truck and firing the shot that killed Brown. Alexis's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 3.
Charging documents give the following account of the Oct. 13, 2006, incident:
Brown, 34, and his wife were awakened shortly after 2 a.m. by his car's alarm. Alexis, who was behind the wheel of the tow truck, was pulling the Chrysler a short distance from the Brown home while Ennels, driving a 2005 Buick LaSabre, was acting as a lookout.
Brown and his wife drove in her vehicle to where the Chrysler 300 had stopped. Its hood was up, and Edmonds had just cut the alarm line. Brown exited his wife's vehicle and walked toward Edmonds, who ran. Alexis fired a single shot, striking Brown in the chest.
Edmonds's attorney, C. Todd Steaurt, declined to comment yesterday. He would not say whether his client was moved out of the county jail for his safety.
On Tuesday, shortly after midnight, county police responding to reports of a traffic accident in the 400 block of Nalley Road found Ennels and Anthony Cash , 22, both of Capitol Heights, inside a car that had run off the road and crashed into trees. The woman, who was wounded in the arm, was outside the car, screaming.
Cash died Tuesday night. The woman remained hospitalized yesterday.
Yesterday, Ivey asked witnesses to the shooting to come forward.
"It happened in a neighborhood, a residential neighborhood," he said. "There were a lot of gunshots over a period of time, and we need the community to help close this case. I think people might have seen what happened."
According to court records, Edmonds's involvement in a January 2007 carjacking helped investigators tie him to the Brown slaying.
Edmonds was one of two masked gunmen who carjacked three women in a 1995 Cadillac in Landover, according to charging documents. He later pleaded guilty in that case to two counts of felony theft and one count of conspiracy, authorities say.
In February 2007, police matched a fingerprint taken from the Cadillac to a fingerprint found on Brown's Chrysler, according to the charging documents.
Brown had been an engineer at Night Flight Recording Studios in Fort Washington. He was credited as a producer on the CD "Crunk Juice" by Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz and as an engineer on "Rebirth" by Jennifer Lopez.
Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.