- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 2, 2005

Two police officers testified yesterday that 20-year-old Navy Seaman Ryan T. Stowers was belligerent toward authorities several times before he was killed by a deputy U.S. Marshal in Rockville last fall.

A detective from California told a Montgomery County jury that Seaman Stowers, of Redding, Calif., challenged him to a fight and shouted obscenities at him in June 2003. An officer from Chestertown, Md., said he had a run-in with the sailor about a month before the sailor was killed.

“He went berserk,” said Alton Somerville Jr., who was on patrol at Washington College in Chestertown on the night of Sept. 26, 2004, when he stopped Seaman Stowers for reckless driving.

The officers’ testimonies came during the final phase of the trial of former deputy U.S. Marshal Arthur Lloyd, 54, who is charged with fatally shooting Seaman Stowers after the two men fought in the parking lot of Mid-Pike Plaza in Rockville on the night of Oct. 28.

If convicted, Mr. Lloyd could be sentenced to life plus 25 years in prison. Mr. Lloyd spent 28 years with the U.S. Marshals Service. He retired after the shooting.

Previous witnesses have testified that Seaman Stowers and Mr. Lloyd got into a fistfight and a wrestling match after a traffic incident on Rockville Pike.

Mr. Lloyd, who testified in his defense Wednesday, told the jury that Seaman Stowers shouted at him that Mr. Lloyd had “sideswiped” his Camaro. Mr. Lloyd told the jury that he didn’t feel any bumps before he turned his black Ford sport utility vehicle into the plaza parking lot.

Seaman Stowers stopped his Camaro behind Mr. Lloyd’s SUV in the plaza parking lot. Mr. Lloyd was riding with his wife and children.

Richard Wills, an accident reconstruction consultant who examined the SUV and the Camaro, told the jury yesterday that he found no “paint transfer” that would have shown the two vehicles had collided.

About 20 witnesses described parts of the fight. Mr. Lloyd testified that he shot the sailor in the lower right leg to stop the fight, tried to get the sailor to lay on the ground so he could arrest him and fired his .40-caliber Glock pistol three more times after Seaman Stowers gunned the Camaro toward him. Mr. Lloyd said he jumped out of the way.

Autopsy tests showed Seaman Stowers’ blood-alcohol content at about 0.22 percent, almost three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

Yesterday, Mr. Lloyd’s attorneys called to the witness stand the two police officers who testified about the sailor’s temper and a medical specialist who told the jury that the sailor was shot at through the rear window.

However, William Bruchey, a ballistics specialist, testified that the fatal bullet entered the back of the sailor’s left shoulder. He also said that the same bullet pierced the aorta and became lodged under the sailor’s right armpit.

“The elongated or oval [entry wound] indicates the bullet came in from an angle,” Mr. Bruchey told the jury. “I believe the shot was taken through the side window. … It is very unlikely that the bullet came through the back window.”

Previous evidence showed that Mr. Lloyd fired three times as Seaman Stowers was driving away and that one bullet broke a taillight on the sailor’s Camaro and another bullet blasted out its rear window.

Mr. Bruchey testified that the bullet that struck the sailor would not have struck any glass.

Earlier in the day, two police officers testified that Seaman Stowers had a bad temper when each of them encountered the sailor in separate incidents.

Detective Jim Wisecarver from Antioch, Calif., testified that Seaman Stowers had challenged the detective to a fight when he found the sailor hiding behind some bushes at a restaurant on June 28, 2003. Detective Wisecarver was answering a disturbance call at the restaurant.

“When he came out, he challenged me to fight,” Detective Wisecarver told the jury. The detective then quoted Seaman Stowers as saying to him, “You … person. I’m not afraid of you.”

“He told me he had been drinking vodka all night,” Detective Wisecarver told the jury. Seaman Stowers “said he was tired of being harassed by police.”

Seaman Stowers was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, but those charges were later dropped, the detective said.

Mr. Somerville, who is now with the U.S. Department of Justice, recounted his encounter with Seaman Stowers at Washington College. He told the jury he heard a “very loud” Camaro after midnight and saw it “fishtailing” into a parking lot.

After Seaman Stowers “went berserk,” Mr. Somerville said he told the sailor, “If you don’t want to be engaged by a police officer, don’t drive that way.”

“I had never met anybody that lost their temper that quick,” Mr. Somerville testified. He also told the jury that the sailor “aimed the car in my direction” and that he stepped aside as it raced past him. Mr. Somerville said the local police could not catch Seaman Stowers.

The trial will resume Monday.

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