Prosecution wraps up case in hit-and-run rampage
Posted February 24, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Prosecutors wrapped up their case Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Abdullah El-Amin Shareef, who is accused in a 2004 hit-and-run rampage across three counties.
Shareef, 31, of Raeford, is charged with murder and four counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.
Shareef has undergone mental health treatment since his arrest and entered an insanity plea in 2008. Defense attorneys said Shareef was suffering from untreated paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the crimes.
Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Cal Colyer has contended that Shareef knew what he was doing when he "went on a murderous rampage" on the morning of April 14, 2004. Authorities said he stole a city-owned van in Fayetteville, hit and injured three men in Fayetteville, then ran over Lonel Bass in Linden, killing him.
Shareef abandoned the van, took Bass' pickup truck and continued north, authorities said, running down Seth Thompson in Harnett County before crashing the truck in Fuquay-Varina, where he was arrested.
On Wednesday, state Chief Medical Examiner Dr. John D. Butts testified that Bass sustained numerous scrapes and tears in his scalp, eight broken ribs and hemorrhaging in the chest cavity, near his lungs. "His pelvis, or his hip, was broken, and the two units of it were widely separated, and there was hemorrhaging around that area, as well,” he said.
The injuries "would have been painful as long as he was conscious," Butts said. Bass lost consciousness en route to the hospital.
Photos of Butts' injuries were shown in court. Shareef looked at the photos, but did not express any emotion.
Before wrapping up its case, the prosecution also called Fayetteville police officer Stephanie Thompson to the stand. Thompson was the officer who responded to the call reporting the theft of a city worker's van. She described the woman who’s city van was stolen as "hysterical."
During its case, the state brought more than 20 witnesses to the stand. It’s unclear how many witnesses will testify for the defense, or if Shareef will testify.
Shareef’s trial had been postponed because he was considered unable to understand court proceedings. Court officials say medication has allowed Shareef to become competent to stand trial.