Trial Begins For Man Accused Of Killing Detective Over Parking Spot

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Was it a senseless murder or self-defense?  Those are the opening arguments from the prosecution and defense in the trial of a man accused of killing a city police officer in a fight over a parking spot.

Mike Schuh reports the courtroom was packed with police.

Detective Brian Stevenson’s partner was in the front row. The defense is trying to put police — both the deceased officer and those who investigated — on trial.

Off-duty officer Brian Stevenson died over a parking space in Canton. Sian James, 25, was arrested, accused of hitting Stevenson in the head with a rock.

In court Thursday, the defense tried to portray the off-duty officer as bringing on the altercation himself. They said he was cursing at people in the parking lot and threatening to shoot people.

One witness testified that she saw James hit the officer with an unknown object and another testified that the officer was threatening and that he smelled of liquor.

Witness Robert Gibson argued with the officer. His testimony didn’t match sworn statements. Gibson says, “Detectives threatened to charge me, unless my written statement was more like what they wanted to hear.”

Gibson is the roommate of the accused, but he was one of the three witnesses who said that they saw James hit the off-duty officer.

The defense is expected to present its witnesses Friday to try to further the idea to the jury that this was self-defense.  The trial is expected to wrap up Friday or Monday.

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