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Says He and Companions Didn't Attempt Robbery : Victim Denies Goetz Allegation of Threat

May 02, 1987|BOB DROGIN | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — One of subway gunman Bernhard H. Goetz's victims, testifying in court for the first time Friday, said that he and his three friends did not surround Goetz or try to rob him before Goetz shot them in a Manhattan subway 2 1/2 years ago.

Troy Canty, 21, also described a grisly scene in which he and two other youths lay wounded and bleeding on the subway floor while the fourth, shot in the back, cried: "Why did he shoot me? Why did he shoot me?"

Canty, who has spent the last two years at a suburban New York drug rehabilitation center, testified on the fourth day of Goetz's trial for attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment and illegal possession of a weapon.

Dropped Out of School

Dressed in a light brown suit and striped tie, the short, stocky Canty told Assistant Dist. Atty. Gregory L. Waples that he supported himself after dropping out of 9th grade by breaking into video machines and shoplifting from department stores.

Canty said he has been arrested eight times for such offenses, and once served 60 days in jail. He said he used the money to support an addiction to "crack," a potent form of cocaine.

On Dec. 22, 1984, Canty said, he and three friends from his Bronx housing project--Barry Allen, Darrell Cabey and James Ramseur--all sneaked onto a bus in the Bronx and then leaped turnstiles to board a No. 2 IRT express train heading south.

"We decided to go into Manhattan to break into video machines," said Canty, who testified under a grant of immunity.

'Horseplayed Around'

Canty said he and Allen "horseplayed around," shadowboxing and hanging from the overhead bars in the half-empty subway car. Then, at 14th Street in lower Manhattan, "a man got on the subway" and sat across from him.

It was Bernhard Goetz, Canty said.

"He sat down and then he looked at me and I looked at him," Canty said.

Canty said he needed money to pump into the video machines so arcade owners wouldn't get suspicious before he looted the machines. So Canty said he asked Goetz for $5.

"I walked up to him and said, 'Mister, can I have $5?' "

Said He Had No Weapon

Although the others carried screwdrivers to break into the video machines, Canty said he had no tool or weapon. He said his hands were at his sides.

Canty denied that his friends surrounded Goetz, saying he thinks they were "sitting down" when he approached Goetz. He also denied trying to rob or mug Goetz and said he acted alone when he approached Goetz.

Canty said Goetz then "got up from his seat and said, 'You all can have it.' "

With that, Canty said, Goetz walked about six feet away, unzipped his jacket and turned with a nickel-plated pistol in his hand.

"He fired," Canty said in a low, calm voice. "I grabbed my chest and I fell to the floor."

Asked How He Was

Canty said Allen asked how he was, then "jumped over my body" before Goetz shot him, Ramseur and Cabey.

Cabey was shot near the heart. He testified that his arms and legs grew numb, and he had trouble breathing. Ramseur's body lay crumpled next to his.

Behind them, Canty said, "I heard Darrell Cabey cry, 'Why did he shoot me, why did he shoot me?' "

Cabey was the most seriously wounded of the four. He remains paralyzed below the waist, and suffered severe brain damage. Allen and Ramseur are in prison on unrelated charges.

Canty said he saw Goetz moments later, sitting on a nearby seat in the subway car.

Prepared to Flee

"He was shaking his head and saying, 'I got to get out of here.' "

Goetz's lawyer has argued that Canty and the other youths surrounded Goetz and were threatening to rob him. Goetz, 39, has said he shot the four in self-defense.

In the courtroom, Goetz, wearing faded jeans and an open-neck white shirt, studied papers and talked to his lawyers but appeared to avoid looking at Canty on the witness stand. Canty occasionally glanced at Goetz but showed no emotion.

The trial, in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, will resume Monday and is expected to last four or five weeks.

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