MAYS LANDING — Four eyewitnesses identifying an Atlantic City man as the shooter in a 2009 killing was enough to charge him, a judge ruled today.
Andrew Garland, now 24, turned himself in Jan. 25 of this year, two weeks after he was charged in the more than 3-year-old crime.
The defense requested a probable-cause hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to charge Garland with killing Shaddiy Dixon. Superior Court Kyran Connor found that there was.
Dixon, 20, had been home from prison less than 24 hours when he was fatally shot during a block party that began Aug. 3, 2009, in the parking lot of Moe's Chicken on the 1300 block of Adriatic Avenue. Police were called to the scene early the next day, and found Dixon dead.
Three other men were wounded in the gunfire, but have not been cooperative in the case, according to information given in court today. No one has been charged in those shootings.
Atlantic City Detective Michael Graham went through the testimony five witnesses gave at different times in the case, including one who came forward after Garland was charged. Only the witnesses' initials were used in court.
One woman said only that she heard the gunshots but did not see anything. But four other witnesses - two males and two females -- testified that Dixon and two men got into an altercation, and then the man identified as Garland pulled out a gun, shooting Dixon.
One of the witnesses said she saw Garland pull out two guns.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Darrin Lord asked questions about who worked on the case and where they are now. Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Maher objected to much of the questioning.
"I'm four years behind in defending my client," Lord said. "Obviously, some of the statements -- at least three of them -- were taken at or around that time."
As questions delved into shell casings and other parts of evidence, Maher objected again.
"This is simply fishing for discovery, which will be provided," Maher said.
The judge agreed.
The next step will be for a grand jury to hear the case and decide whether to indict Garland. That likely will not happen within the next 60 days, Maher said.
Garland remains jailed on $1 million bail. Superior Court Judge Michael Donio previously refused a defense motion to lower the bail.
No new court dates were set.