Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Murder suspect: Aunt is alive

A Maryland man on trial for allegedly fatally shooting his aunt in Towamencin told a jury his aunt is still alive and accused relatives and police of framing him for the crime.

“The victim is definitely alive. She’s not dead,” Yeshtila Awoke Ameshe testified in Montgomery County Court on Thursday. “I’m innocent. I did not do anything wrong. I don’t know why I’m here.”

Ameshe, 35, an Ethiopian immigrant who settled in Adelphi, Md., is charged with first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime in connection with the 8 p.m., June 27, 2000, fatal shooting of his aunt, Haregewene Bitew, a 60-year-old licensed nurse from Silver Spring, Md., who, along with Ameshe, was visiting the Dock Village apartment in Towamencin.

Bitew died after sustaining four gunshot wounds to her head, neck and chest inside the Community Drive apartment.

Under questioning by defense lawyer Scott H. Krieger, Ameshe recalled arriving at the apartment and seeing Bitew and other relatives there but claimed nothing unusual occurred at the residence.

Ameshe, who speaks Amharic, an Ethiopian language, was assisted during his testimony by an interpreter. Ameshe testified he can’t remember leaving the apartment or being questioned by detectives after he was arrested for Bitew’s murder.

Shown photographs of Bitew, including one of her dead body inside the apartment, Ameshe said, “It looks like her.”

During his cross-examination of Ameshe, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Maloney implied it is convenient that Ameshe can’t recall anything that occurred between the time he arrived at the apartment and the time he was arrested.

While Krieger is waging an insanity defense on Ameshe’s behalf, Maloney has implied that Ameshe is faking insanity.

The trial is expected to include testimony from dueling psychiatrists, one called by the defense to support that Ameshe is insane and another called by the prosecution to refute the insanity claim.

Maloney alleged Ameshe acted with a specific intent to kill, a legal requirement for a first-degree murder conviction, which is punishable of life imprisonment.

However, with an insanity defense Krieger implied Ameshe could not have formed the intent to kill his aunt.

Under state law, a person is legally insane at the time of a crime if he was suffering a defect of reason or from disease of the mind that prevented him from knowing what is right or wrong or understanding the consequences of his actions.

A person found not guilty by reason of insanity would be committed to a mental institution and would receive treatment. Once deemed “cured” he would be released from the institution with no requirement to serve jail time.

Ameshe is also charged with a lesser third-degree murder charge, a killing committed with malice, punishable of a maximum of 20 to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutors alleged Ameshe killed Bitew because he felt betrayed by elder members of the Ethiopian community who tried to put an end to his romantic pursuit of a young woman in Maryland. Bitew and other relatives met with Ameshe four months before the fatal shooting to discuss his relationship with the Maryland woman who did not want a relationship with Ameshe.

According to the testimony of Bitew’s relatives, Ameshe, who emigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in 1997, believed that under traditional Ethiopian customs his family should intervene on his behalf to keep the Maryland woman in his life. In more rural areas of Ethiopia, a man’s wishes are respected and followed under traditional Ethiopian customs and women are expected to follow a man’s wishes, testimony revealed.

On Thursday, Maloney confronted Ameshe with a copy of an application Ameshe filed to obtain a handgun. Ameshe applied for the gun permit a short time after his meeting with relatives.

“That’s not my signature. It’s not my handwriting,” Ameshe testified, claiming police and relatives have “falsified evidence” against him.

Maloney alleged Ameshe, with “malicious and evil intentions,” brought his anger to the Towamencin apartment and opened fire on his aunt with a 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun during a family gathering.

Ameshe, prosecutors alleged, made an incriminating statement to police when he was apprehended on the Pennsylvania Turnpike shortly after the deadly shooting.

“He said, ‘I am the one,’” retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jeffrey White testified, recalling the first words uttered by Ameshe as he was apprehended at the Mid-County Interchange of the turnpike in Plymouth after he was involved in a fender bender at the tollbooths.

Ameshe made the incriminating remark as White drew his pistol and ordered Ameshe to the ground at the turnpike interchange, according to testimony before Judge S. Gerald Corso.

Testimony revealed police recovered a backpack that contained a 9mm Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun, ammunition and a 9mm magazine from Ameshe’s vehicle when they searched it at the turnpike interchange. (The Times Herald)

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ከዘኢትዮጵያ ታሪክ እና ባለ ታሪኮች

ከዘኢትዮጵያ ታሪክ  እና ባለ ታሪኮች
ይህን ቅርስ በአደራ ጠብቀውና ተከላክለው ያቆዩት ብ/ር ጄነራል ፍሬሰንበት አምዴ ነበሩ። በቅርቡ ከዚህ ዓለም በሞት ተለይተዋል። ላለፉት 30 ዓመታት ቤተመንግሥትን በዋናነት ሲያስተዳድሩ ከነበሩት ጄነራል ፍሬሰንበት ህይወት ጋር አብሮ የሚጻፍ ብዙ ታሪክ አለ። ለምሳሌ እነዚህ ይገኙበታል (ለማንበብ ፎቶ ግራፉን ይጫኑ)