Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Yesterday was the first day of the trial of Dontee Stokes

Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy has called the shooting a case of "vigilante justice" to be prosecuted just as her office would any one of about 400 nonfatal shootings each year.In an opening statement yesterday, prosecutor Sylvester Cox recounted for jurors the facts of the case: how Stokes confronted Blackwell in front of the priest's home, demanded an apology and, after Blackwell ignored him, shot him three times. "What he was thinking about, I have no idea," Cox said.Outside the jury's presence, he urged Judge John N. Prevas to suppress any mention of the alleged abuse -- a motion the judge denied.Brown told jurors that Stokes broke down the night of the shooting, May 13. Stokes was frustrated that nothing was done in 1993 after he told authorities that Blackwell had molested him, and he was angry that Blackwell would not apologize for his conduct, Brown said.

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