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Prosecution Rests in Denny Trial; Testimony Clashes : Courts: First defense witness says man who testified he saw beating of trucker was attacked by mob before Denny came on the scene.

September 18, 1993|From Staff and Wire Reports

Prosecutors rested their case Friday in the trial of two men accused of trying to kill Reginald O. Denny, and the defense called a witness who questioned the testimony of a a man who said he observed the beating of the trucker.

"We told you what we were doing in the beginning was assembling pieces of a jigsaw puzzle," Deputy Dist. Atty. Lawrence Morrison told a reporter. "All the pieces are in place."

Damian Monroe Williams, 20, and Henry Keith Watson, 28, face 12 charges in the attack on Denny and seven others at Florence and Normandie avenues on April 29, 1992, as rioting was breaking out in Los Angeles.

Phillip Davis, 41, a paralegal and minister who lives in Colton, was the first defense witness called Friday. He said Unocal gas station cashier Gabriel Quintana, a prosecution witness who supposedly saw the Denny attack, had been beaten by a mob before Denny pulled into the intersection in a red gravel truck.

Quintana said he was in a glass booth and saw the Denny attack before he was pulled out of a gas station restroom and beaten.

Davis said he arrived at the intersection about 4:30 p.m. and was standing near the Unocal station. He said he stepped into the intersection to help trucker Larry Tarvin--a mob beating victim--get out of the way of swerving cars. Tarvin was attacked just before Denny, according to a videotape that also captured Davis' actions.

Davis, who was unable to identify any of the assailants on Friday, said he went back to the Unocal gas pump where he had been before helping Tarvin.

As he walked near the cashier's booth, he said he noticed two things.

"The attendant was now out of the booth. People were hitting and kicking him, and people were going in and out of the booth looting it," Davis said. At that time, Davis said, "I had not seen the red truck coming into the intersection."

Davis said projectiles landing near him diverted his attention to the intersection again, where he saw the red truck entering.

"People were throwing objects at the truck," Davis said, adding that most of the projectiles seemed to be coming from the right, or passenger, side.

"A guy got up on the right and was hitting the window of the truck. The truck driver looked toward the right, then turned and looked toward the left. I saw him lean to the right, and the truck came to an abrupt stop in the intersection. I noticed that his eyes rolled into his head as he turned to look at the gentleman on the left," Davis said.

Under cross-examination by Morrison, Davis said he never came forward about what he had seen until two weeks ago, when he heard about Quintana's testimony.

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