Testimony continued Friday in the trial of the man accused of killing a Bangor man in Baltimore four years ago, with the defense continuing its effort to convince the jury that political pressure and the offer of a $10,000 reward resulted in the wrongful arrest of his client.
Friday, James Langhorne’s girlfriend testified that the morning Laurence Jones Jr. was killed, Langhorne returned to the couple’s apartment in the Perkins housing project, hid his gun, threw out the clothes he was wearing and said he had just seen a guy get shot.
Nicole Woodard, according to courtroom observers, said Langhorne, 24, never told her that he shot anyone, but showed her items she believed were stolen from the victim.
Jones, 24, a Bangor High School and University of Maine graduate, was mugged and shot during the early morning hours of Nov. 20, 1993, just two months after he moved to Baltimore to continue his education at The Johns Hopkins University.
Langhorne was arrested three years later, after a fellow prison inmate called police and said Langhorne told him he committed the murder.
Jones was robbed of a gold and opal ring and his wallet, which have never been recovered.
Woodard told jurors Friday that Langhorne showed her a gold ring, a watch and a wallet, according to observers. The description of the ring, however, was far different from the ring stolen from Jones and Jones’ watch was not stolen.
Langhorne is expected to take the stand next week and testify that he was looking for drugs that morning and was standing with another drug addict with whom he was acquainted when Jones walked past them.
Langhorne claims that the other man, known only as Wink, suddenly drew his gun, told Jones to “give it up” and shot him in the head.
Thursday, the prison inmate who went to the police about the killing testified that Langhorne told him he fired the gun and that he made off with a ring and a wallet.
Alfred Brown also testified that he was aware there was a $10,000 reward, put up by Jones’ parents for the arrest and conviction of the murderer and told the court he thought he was eligible for that reward.
The defense attorney suggested that Brown’s testimony prompted prosecutors to put on hold an escape charge he was facing.
The Baltimore detective who arrested Langhorne was on the stand much of Friday as Brave attempted to get the detective to say he felt political pressure to make an arrest in the highly publicized case.
During the four years that the case went unsolved, Jones’ parents, from Bangor, wrote countless letters to members of Maine’s Washington delegation, President Clinton and Maryland officials calling for more action on the case.
Detective John T. Brown of the department’s cold case squad, who was assigned the case in July 1996, was adamant that he never was unaware of the pressure involved in the case. He argued that the arrest of Langhorne came because of the tip by Brown in October 1996 and other evidence gathered after that tip.
Brown was expected to be the state’s final witness. He is scheduled to take the stand again Monday morning, after which the state is expected to rest.