SLED expert: Multiple guns in killing

CHESTER -- Shawn Dewanye Wilson fired a black handgun 28 times outside a Great Falls bar and grill during a 2003 riot, officials said. But an expert witness in Wilson's murder trial could not say exactly what handgun some of the bullets found originated from when he took the stand Thursday in a Chester courtroom.

"Twenty-two of the 28 were fired by the same firearm," said Vello Paavel, a State Law Enforcement Division firearms expert. "I can't tell you whether those six were fired by the same firearm."

Police say Wilson, now 28, shot Charlie Ray "Juicy" Brown Jr. in the stomach outside The Talk of the Town bar and grill on Chester Avenue on June 28, 2003. Brown died at Chester Regional Medical Center.

But Paavel said a microscopic comparison of several bullets, including two silvertip bullets from Brown's autopsy, was inconclusive. "I could not tell if these came out of one firearm barrel or more than one firearm barrel," he said.

The admission prompted Wilson's attorney, Jack Swerling, to ask if more than one firearm was involved in the killing of Brown, a 24-year-old Great Falls man.

"Yes," Paavel answered. "I can not positively tell you how many firearms were used."

However, he noted that the silvertip bullet and several others had "clearly defined markings" that could be used to prepare a list of possible firearms.

"Browning is on the list of possible makes of firearms that could have fired those bullets," he said.

Also shot in the incident was Lawrence Thigpen of Great Falls, who was wounded in the chest, police said.

Wilson was charged with murder, assault and battery with intent to kill and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to court documents.

The combined charges could carry life in prison, Assistant Solicitor Chris Taylor said.

In court, Swerling contended that Wilson did not shoot Brown or Thigpen, and he fired the gun multiple times to quiet a riot before someone got hurt. But a witness told the court that Wilson fired at people who were arguing, not fighting.

"At first, he just had the gun in his hand," said Tramel Richardson, who was walking along Great Falls Avenue near The Talk of the Town bar and grill. "Everybody was talking. Then, he started shooting in the air."

Richardson testified that Wilson emptied a clip and reloaded.

"That's when he pointed at the crowd," Richardson said. "He was shooting at Thigpen's house."

The shooting prompted multiple fights, Richardson said.

"After the shooting, they said Juicy's dead," Richardson said of the victim, Brown, "and that's when they started fighting. The bottles and everything came out."

Great Falls Police Chief Mike Revels responded to the disturbance within 20 minutes.

"The entire road was blocked," Revels said.

Court testimony showed that it took nearly an hour for neighboring police and other officials to control the crowd.

"It was a riot," said York County Sheriff's Officer James A. "Buddy" Brown III. "People running everywhere -- mass confusion."

Officials found about five or six golf clubs in the bar and grill parking lot, as well as pieces of pool sticks, a pocket knife, 28 shell casings and clothing, according to court testimony. They also retrieved Wilson's gun case and 21 unfired cartridges, SLED agent John Black said.

Wilson's left thumb print was found on the inside and outside tray of bullets, Black said. However, he said, there was no way to determine when the prints were left.

Wilson's trial will resume at 9:30 a.m. today. He remained in custody Thursday night at the Chester County Detention Center.