- The Washington Times - Monday, June 6, 2005

A Montgomery County jury will begin deliberations today in the trial of a former deputy U.S. marshal accused of fatally shooting a 20-year-old Navy seaman in the parking lot of Mid-Pike Plaza shopping mall south of Rockville last fall.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys argued yesterday whether Arthur Lloyd, 54, was justified in shooting Seaman Ryan T. Stowers, of Redding, Calif. the night of Oct. 28 in the plaza parking lot.

“This was intentional, as he was pulling the trigger while pointing his handgun at a human being,” Montgomery County Deputy State’s Attorney John McCarthy told the jury.

Mr. Lloyd’s attorney, Barry Helfand, disagreed. “They haven’t proven that,” he argued. “This is an out-and-out perfect self-defense.”

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.

During the two-week trial, about 30 prosecution witnesses testified that Seaman Stowers and Mr. Lloyd got into a fistfight and a wrestling match in the center lane of the parking lot after a traffic incident on Rockville Pike.

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

Seaman Stowers stopped his Camaro close behind Mr. Lloyd’s SUV in the parking lot. Mr. Lloyd had driven with his wife and five children to the plaza to shop for Halloween costumes.

An accident reconstruction consultant who examined the SUV and the Camaro testified that he found no “paint transfer” that would have shown the two vehicles had collided.

Seaman Stowers, who had knee surgery, was in the area on the morning of Oct. 28 so doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital could determine whether the sailor could return to duty, according to his parents and brother who have been attending the trial.

Several witnesses testified that minutes before the shooting, Seaman Stowers spun the wheels on his car, fishtailed it and swerved in and out of traffic lanes on Rockville Pike.

A state medical examiner testified the sailor’s blood alcohol-content was .22 percent, almost three times more than the legal limit of .08 percent.

Law-enforcement witnesses from Chestertown, Md., and Antioch, Calif., testified that Seaman Stowers was belligerent toward authorities several times before he was killed. They testified that Seaman Stowers shouted obscenities at them, drove recklessly and smelled of alcohol during separate confrontations.

Witnesses testified that Mr. Lloyd shot Seaman Stowers in the right ankle while the two men argued in the four-lane drive.

Three minutes later, Mr. Lloyd fired three more shots as Seaman Stowers veered around the left side of Mr. Lloyd’s SUV. The shots blasted out the Camaro’s rear window, broke its left taillight and struck the sailor in the back of the left shoulder.

Mr. Helfand argued that Seaman Stowers swerved the Camaro sharply left at Mr. Lloyd, which explains how the bullet pierced the sailor’s upper body from left to right.

Mr. Helfand emphasized that according to witness testimony, Seaman Stowers was a stranger, and that Mr. Lloyd did not know why the sailor was angry and began punching him. Mr. Lloyd showed the sailor his identification badge and a gun, Mr. Helfand said.

“There are blows being rained down on a 54-year-old man by a stranger in a rage,” argued Mr. Helfand, who walked halfway down the aisle of the courtroom to demonstrate to jurors that the bullets could not have been fired directly behind the sailor.

Mr. McCarthy told the jury that Mr. Lloyd was not acting like a law-enforcement officer. “He’s acting like a mad guy,” he argued.

Regulations forbid U.S. marshals from using “deadly force” except in desperate circumstances, Mr. McCarthy said.

“No witness exists who thinks those shots were justified,” Mr. McCarthy argued.

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