- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2001

A Pennsylvania man yesterday pleaded not guilty to a charge that he fatally shot a Metro Transit Police officer in a subway station in Northwest nearly three weeks ago.
Walter Orlando Johnson, 33, appeared in D.C. Superior Court for the first time since he was arrested in connection with the June 10 shooting death of Officer Marlon Morales. Officer Morales, 32, died June 13, three days after he was shot in the face at the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station.
Commissioner Milton C. Lee Jr., who heard arguments in the case, ordered Johnson held without bond. Johnson is scheduled to return to court July 17 for a preliminary hearing.
At the brief court hearing yesterday afternoon, Johnson's attorney, public defender Renee Raymond argued that prosecutors have little evidence to link Johnson to the fatal shooting, except for one witness and the slain officer's weapon, which the killer took after the shooting.
Miss Raymond told Commissioner Lee the description the witness gave of Officer Morales' killer does not match Johnson's physical appearance. Miss Raymond argued that the witness described the killer to be between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall and weighing 160 to 170 pounds. The witness also told police the killer was cleanshaven and was wearing a blue New Jersey Devils hockey jersey with black writing on it.
Miss Raymond said none of the descriptions match Johnson's physical appearance.
"Mr. Johnson is actually almost four inches taller and at minimum 25 pounds heavier," Miss Raymond argued. "He also is not cleanshaven and does not own a jersey like that. This is a one-witness case. The description provided is much different than the way Mr. Johnson looks. There's too many discrepancies and there's no other evidence that connects Mr. Johnson to this shooting."
According to court documents filed in the case, Johnson stands at 6 feet 1 inch and weighs 205 pounds. Court papers also show that during a search of Johnson's residences, police recovered a royal blue athletic jersey and a loaded magazine for a 9 mm gun and a pistol, similar to the one Officer Morales carried the night he was shot.
Court documents also note that another person who saw the shooting had talked to the police witness afterward. The person, who is not identified in the documents, was standing by a telephone booth located in the tunnel at the threshold of the mezzanine and told the witness what he or she saw, court documents show.
Officer Morales was fatally shot about 9 p.m. while he was citing a man for fare evasion after the man pushed through a turnstile while trying to leave the station near the 13th Street exit.
The fare evader was called back by the station manager. When Officer Morales arrived, the station manager left to go to the restroom. While he was near or inside the restroom, he heard a shot.
A witness said the fare evader then ran back through the station, exiting onto 10th Street.
Johnson was arrested by Philadelphia police on June 14 after authorities there pulled him over for driving with an expired inspection sticker. During the traffic stop, Johnson got into a struggle with the Philadelphia officers and pulled Officer Morales' service weapon — a SIG Sauer 9 mm — on one of the officers.
Johnson was charged with first-degree murder June 18.

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