“Road Rage” Murder Trial: Witness Provides Confusing, Mistaken Testimony
Witness identifies caucasian Adam Pidel as an African-American, mistakes 30 feet distance for 50 feet
Our next piece of evidence from the Joseph Walker trial is the transcribed interview of another witness who drove by the shooting scene. As per SOP his name has been redacted. Because this transcript was attached as Exhibit H to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, I will refer to him as Mr. H.
The interview was again conducted by the Maryland State Police’s Lead Investigator on this case, Trooper First Class (TFC) Myles Roy, this time on June 9, 2013, the day after the shooting. Also present was Maryland State Police Detective Sergeant Steve Hall.
It appears that Mr. H may have observed the encounter from the southbound off-ramp of I-97. In this image the northbound on-ramp on which Walker and Harvey engaged is enclosed in a white box, and the off-ramp it appears Mr. H may have been traveling down is enclosed in a red box.
At the start of the interview TFC Roy notes that he is already in possession of an earlier statement from Mr. H, as well as from Mr. H’s wife. They were each traveling past the scene in separate cars, with Mr. H in the lead and his wife several car lengths behind.
Mr. H describes coming upon the scene:
Mr. H: As I got onto the on ramp, I saw two cars pulled over. And the first thing that struck me was how far apart they were. It didn’t seem like it was an accident, like either they knew each other and they were pulled down because one broke down.
Harvey Within 50 Feet of Minivan, Aggressive, Gesturing
Mr. H: I saw the man walking from the Honda back towards the minivan. And he was probably about 50 feet from the minivan. And he was walking in an aggressive manner, gesturing… he was gesturing like he was talking to the guy either – and I figured they were friends and they were kidding around or something bad was going to happen. I just had a feeling, when I see a guy approaching another guy, doing that kind of body language, it wasn’t going to end good.
Witness Sees Moment When Harvey Shot by Walker
Mr. H: As I was approaching and going by, I had a clear view to my left – as I was traveling up the off ramp. And the last thing I saw [Harvey] do was kind of motioning with his arms. And he reached down to his pant leg and –can I show you? I’ll stand up and show you. It was just strange. He was walking towards the guy like this. And he did something like this, like grabbed his pant leg or something.
Mr. H lost sight of the scene as he continued up Rt. 3 towards Veteran’s Highway . He noted, however, that he could see by his wife’s headlights in the car behind him that she had pulled over.
Det. Hall: How far, when you started approaching the scene, how far was your wife behind you at that point?
Mr. H: Ten, 20 car lengths. I was driving slow, kind of waiting for her to gradually catch up with me. And she had just gotten to where I knew for sure that that was her behind me.
Detective Hall is explicitly interested in this part of Mr. H’s testimony, believing it will better inform the investigation of the nature of the shots fired. This line of questioning never seems all that helpful–if anything, it confuses things.
Det. Hall: That’s important to us, because we have some information about how the shots went off. So the timing of it is important.
Mr. H: So she pulled over there. I pulled over to try to call her. And she was on the phone with 911. So it took me, you know, five tries. I finally got through to her. And she was pretty hysterical.
Mr. H: The driver of the minivan was standing next to the minivan.
Det. Hall: Did you get a look at him as to what he looked like, race?
Mr. H: He was wearing a — it looked like a camouflage t-shirt and shorts, as well. Khaki colored.
The observation that Walker was wearing shorts is obviously not very consistent with Trooper Henry’s inference that Walker may have been carrying his pistol in an ankle holster. This witness’ testimony only goes on to get more confusing, however.
Witness Characterizes Caucasian Adam Pidel as African-American
Mr. H: And there was a passenger out of the vehicle, the Honda. There was a passenger standing next to the passenger’s side of the Honda.
Det. Hall: Okay. Do you have a description of him?
Mr. H: He – I think he was African-American. And, I don’t know, 5’ 9”, wearing shorts, as well. [In fact, Harvey’s passenger, Adam Pidel, is Caucasian.]
Det. Hall: The passenger meaning the Honda?
Mr. H: Yeah.
Moderate Traffic May Have Impeded Ability of Walker to Reverse Minivan
Mr. H also notes that traffic was moderate at the time—a fact that could have implications for Walker’s ability to retreat from the conflict by driving his minivan backwards along the shoulder, away from Harvery.
TFC Roy: What was traffic like at that time?
Mr. H: Moderate. It wasn’t real heavy, but it wasn’t –
TFC Roy: It was light.
Mr. H: It was kind of moderate traffic.
Witness Describes the Moment It Appears Harvey Was Shot in Leg
TFC Roy: The gentleman from the Honda is walking –
Mr. H: South.
TFC Roy: — almost towards you before you split off.
Mr. H: Correct. Yeah.
TFC Roy: And you see him walking aggressively. Now, when you described that he grabbed his leg, do you know which leg he grabbed?
Mr. H: His right leg, his pant leg. I just – because it was a strange thing to see. They were clearly communicating. And the way the guy was, he was kind of animated in his movements.
Harvey’s Demeanor Aggressive . . . but Also As If Buddies with Walker?
Det. Hall: That’s what I’m asking you. You said aggressively, he was walking in an aggressive manner. What do you mean by that?
Mr. H: Well, if it was me and one of my buddies, and I was walking like that, I would have been saying something like what’s your problem, don’t you know the direction. You know, if got lost or if he ran out of – you know, don’t you know how to buy gas or something like that, did you forget, that kind of thing. So it was, like I said, it was animated as if –
Det. Hall: His hands were moving His –
Mr. H: His hands were moving as if he was talking. And I thought maybe they were buddies, and they had been traveling together.
Harvey Described As Walking At a Normal Pace
Det. Hall: How fast was he moving towards the van?
Mr. H: He wasn’t running. He was just walking, like walking at a normal rate.
No Weapons Were Observed
Det. Hall: Did you see – was he holding anything in his hands?
Mr. H: I didn’t see anything in his hands, no. Don’t know if he had anything, but I didn’t see anything.
Pidel Back At Honda, Walker Seen Waiting for Harvey “To Get There”
TFC Roy: And where was this second guy [Adam Pidel] this entire time?
Mr. H: Passenger side of the Honda. He was either at the door – I think the passenger door was open, if I recall. He was either standing next to the Honda or sitting with his legs out.
TFC Roy: Now, was he making any kind of mannerisms or gestures?
Mr. H: I didn’t pay too much attention to him.
TFC Roy: What about the guy with the van? What were his mannerisms like?
Mr. H: He was – he’s just moving slowly. I don’t know whether – like I said, I don’t know if he was standing still or in front of or in back of the door. He wasn’t moving towards the guy.
Det. Hall: But he wasn’t gesturing with his hands.
Mr. H: No.
Det. Hall: He was just kind of – how would you describe the way he was standing there?
Mr. H: Like he was waiting for this guy to get there so they could finish whatever they were talking about.
Witness’ Wife Observed Walker Raise Pistol, Shoot Harvey
Mr. H: Like standing, waiting. I can repeat what [my wife] said to me.
Det. Hall: What did she say?
Mr. H: She said she saw [Walker] raise both hands and heard pop pop and saw the guy drop. She said he didn’t stagger, didn’t do anything. He just dropped. And she was – she was pretty shook up. She wondered how can somebody do that to the other.
Witness States Harvey “Grabbed Pant Leg” ~30 Feet from Minivan
TFC Roy: How close were [Walker and Harvey] when [Harvey] grabbed his pant leg.
Mr. H: About 50 feet, I’m guessing, probably – maybe the length of this room?
TFC Roy: Okay. This is probably 30 feet.
The Mysterious Disappearing White Toyota Pick-up
Mr. H also makes reference to a mysterious white Toyota pickup truck that he says was parked in front of Harvey’s Honda at some point. The pickup left before the arrival of police, however, and that line of questioning never really goes anywhere.
Here’s the transcript of the interview:
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.
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Gotta go for now.
When does this trial start, btw?
No clue my friend. I don’t even think an actual date has been set yet. They will probably deal with the Motion to Dismiss before setting a date.
However, jury deliberations will finish before that, here.
The last I heard, it was to begin May 21st.
Ahhh, cool, I hadn’t heard that. Thanks Amy.
May 21st is also the date I have noted for the start of the trial.
Ahh, cool so we will have this one then the Dunn retrial back to back, interesting.
Any thoughts on how the Matthew Pinkerton self defense case, also being tried in Anne Arundel County Maryland, could be affected by this trial?
If I am not mistaken Andrew has already done at least one post on the Pinkerton case. It seems pretty cut and dry to me and if he isn’t just acquitted it will be a hung jury and then we will see if the state has the umph to retry the case.
Pinkerton is white, Green was black. Politics will no doubt up the zealousness of a prosecution against Pinkerton, who shot an intruder he had locked out of his own house at 2am as opposed to that for Walker, a black who shot a white, even though Walker was not at home, lied, had plenty of time to call 9-1-1 and had other potential avenues of retreat, a defense that appears to have been abandoned anyway except for a possible claim of fear for his family. Walker shot a man next to his own vehicle he could have driven off in; Pinkerton shot somebody breaking down his door at 2am..
I can’t wait for the racial hubris if Pinkerton gets an apparently deserved walk and Walker is convicted.
Anne Arundel Co. will be doing more than jailing and levying a $7500 fine against an elderly woman living in poverty for the terrible crime of accidentally letting her dogs get loose: http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/03/14/81-year-old-great-grandmother-jailed-for-2-days-for-pet-violation/
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