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Limousine Driver Testifies at Trial of Ravens' Lewis

May 26, 2000|From Staff and Wire Reports

Defense attorneys sought to poke holes in the testimony of the prosecution's star witness in the Ray Lewis murder trial Thursday at Atlanta, highlighting inconsistencies in his statements, shortcomings in his memory and his admission that he has bad hearing.

Duane Fassett, the driver of Lewis' limousine, was considered the most important witness for the prosecution because he told investigators that he saw Lewis and his two co-defendants with the two victims, that he heard the co-defendants admit that they stabbed the men and that Lewis told him to lie to police.

In his testimony, Fassett said he saw Lewis raise his hand during the brawl, but never saw him strike anyone.

"I didn't see him throw a punch," he said. "I didn't see it land."

Fassett also testified that Lewis told his friends several times to stop fighting and get in the limousine--bolstering the defense claim that Lewis acted as a peacemaker.

Under questioning by District Attorney Paul Howard, Fassett testified that he liked Lewis a great deal. Fassett seemed pained when forced to admit that after the brawl, Lewis told everyone in the limousine to "just keep your mouth shut and don't say nothing."

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Mike Tyson won't face charges on a claim by a topless dancer that he hit her and was abusive during a barroom scuffle.

Las Vegas police said that they could find little evidence to back up the claim made by 24-year-old Victoria Bianco.

Auto Racing

Dave Blaney won the pole for the CarQuest Auto Parts 300 at Concord, N.C., with a race qualifying record lap of 177.328 mph.

Blaney holds track records at four tracks on the NASCAR Busch Series. It is the sixth pole of Blaney's NASCAR Busch Series career, and second at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He has started no worse than third in his last four starts at the Charlotte track. Mark Martin will start second in Saturday's race.

A black driver said he was treated unfairly by NASCAR officials and might take legal action to win the right to compete in more truck races.

Bobby Norfleet said he was told last week he did not have enough experience to attempt to qualify for a Craftsman Truck Series race in Fountain, Colo. He said he returned to the track on race day to discuss the situation.

While waiting to meet with the sanctioning body, Norfleet said he was escorted out of the facility by six armed security guards.

"They embarrassed me in front of my children," Norfleet said. "I want an apology from NASCAR."

Tennis

Pete Sampras won an important warmup for next week's French Open with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over ATP Champions Race leader Magnus Norman of Sweden at the World Team Cup at Duesseldorf, Germany.

But the United States still lost to Sweden, 2-1, and finished in last place in the Red Group behind Slovakia, Germany and Sweden.

Slovakia advanced to Saturday's finals after beating Germany, 2-1, to win the Red Group of the round-robin tournament that pits the world's top eight tennis nations against each other.

Sixth-seeded Silvija Talaja of Croatia beat top-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France, 7-5, 6-2, to reach the semifinals of the Strasbourg Open at Strasbourg, France.

No. 4 Nathalie Dechy of France is the only other seeded player left in the tournament.

Martina Navratilova stumbled in her doubles comeback as she and partner Mariaan de Swardt lost to Spaniards Gala Leon and Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenzo, 6-3, 7-6 (5), in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open at Spain.

In singles action, Virginia Ruano of Spain defeated Nicole Pratt of Australia, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, while Spaniard Gala Leon beat fellow Spaniard Angeles Montolio, 6-4, 6-3.

The 2000 U.S. Open will be the first in the sport to offer $15 million in prize money, including a record $800,000 for each of the singles winners.

Miscellany

The pedestrian walkway that collapsed at Lowe's Motor Speedway was built with material contaminated with calcium chloride, which corroded the steel beams, investigators at Concord, N.C., said.

The testing lab hired by the speedway to investigate Saturday's collapse found high levels of calcium chloride in the concrete slabs on the 320-foot-long bridge. The calcium chloride was somehow mixed into grout that a Spartanburg, S.C., company used when it connected the four bridge sections.

Industry standards discourage the use of chlorides in prestressed concrete structures because the substance permits rust to form more easily when moisture is present.

Arizona freshman Julia Kraschinski shot a five-under-par 67 to take the second-round lead in the NCAA women's golf championships and move the Wildcats into first place in the team competition at Sunriver, Ore. Kraschinski had a four-under 140 total for a two-stroke lead over teammate Jenna Daniels, the top-ranked player in the country. Arizona leads USC by 12 shots.

Former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Oliver McCall used a crunching left hook to stop Marcus McIntyre in the third round at Tunica, Miss. . . . Roberto Duran announced that his super-middleweight bout against Pat Lawlor has been delayed two weeks to June 16.

Texas basketball center Chris Mihm signed with an agent, insuring he will not return for his senior season. . . . The Sparks meet Seattle in the final WNBA exhibition game for both clubs tonight at 7:30 at the Forum. The Sparks' regular-season opener is Wednesday night at the Forum against Utah. . . . Gary Kerkorian, 70, who played football at Inglewood High and was the quarterback of Stanford's 1952 Rose Bowl team, died in Fresno on Monday of cancer.

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