- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 4, 2001

Accused cop killer Kofi Apea Orleans-Lindsay yesterday pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of killing a Maryland State Police trooper during an undercover drug investigation in the District of Columbia.

"Not guilty," were the only words Orleans-Lindsay uttered during yesterday's arraignment in U.S. District Court, where the charge that he fatally shot Cpl. Edward M. Toatley was read.

Orleans-Lindsay, a native of Ghana, was on probation for a drug-related conviction in Montgomery County at the time of the Oct. 30 killing. He is charged in federal court because Cpl. Toatley was part of an FBI task force investigating illegal drug sales on the D.C.-Maryland border.

Cpl. Toatley, 37 and a father of three, was deputized by the FBI and was assisting a federal probe at the time of the his death, which allows federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

The one-count federal grand jury indictment accuses Orleans-Lindsay of killing a person assisting a federal investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William O'Malley said the U.S. attorney general will decide whether the death penalty will be sought after a recommendation is made by the U.S. attorney for the District over the next three to four months.

Since the Bush administration comes into power Jan. 20 and a new attorney general must be approved by the Senate, the death-penalty decision could take longer and delay Orleans-Lindsay's trial.

District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly set a status hearing for Feb. 7. During that hearing, Judge Kollar-Kotelly said, she would decide a trial date and whether to appoint Orleans-Lindsay's attorneys, Billy Ponds and Steve Kiersch, to represent him.

Mr. O'Malley said it is anticipated that other charges will be filed against Orleans-Lindsay, such as distribution of illegal drugs. He said he anticipated the narcotics investigation will net other arrests, but that no one else will be charged in the death of Cpl. Toatley.

Orleans-Lindsay, 23, met Cpl. Toatley Oct. 30 in Takoma Park and directed the trooper to drive him to the 2000 block of Douglas Street NW, police said. Cpl. Toatley was posing as a drug dealer and was trying to purchase $3,500 worth of cocaine from Orleans-Lindsay.

When they got to Douglas Street, Cpl. Toatley gave Orleans-Lindsay the money and Orleans-Lindsay got out of the trooper's black Toyota 4Runner and walked down Queens Chapel Road NW, records state. A few moments after Orleans-Lindsay left, a gunman opened the 4Runner's passenger-side door and shot Cpl. Toatley once in the head.

Another officer in a car about 75 feet from Cpl. Toatley's saw Orleans-Lindsay leave and lost sight of him. He saw him return, but could not see his face.

A videotape taken from hidden cameras inside the 4Runner show Orleans-Lindsay wearing a hooded sweat shirt and light-colored pants, the same clothing worn by the shooter. But the recording shows only the silhouette of the gunman.

Police say the videotape shows that after the shooting, the killer walked east on Douglas Street.

In an alley a block away and east of the shooting, a key chain bearing the name "Kofi" was found. The key opened and operated the Mercedes-Benz that Orleans-Lindsay had been driving that night.

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