Assistant District Attorney Stormy Ellis says she is sure Christopher Lee Allen is the man who killed Anthony Glenn.
“There is no doubt about the fact that this person sitting here today shot and killed Mr. Glenn,” Ellis said pointing to Allen during a bond hearing. “This is a shooting in Durham that this person did.”
Defense attorney Allyn Sharp, however, paints a picture of a weak case that depends on fluctuating witness testimony.
“Definitely not him,” one witness said during a photo lineup of suspects, Sharp said.
Durham police charged Allen with the June 26, 2015, murder of Glenn, 36, who was found shot in the driver’s seat of a parked car near the intersection of Holloway Street and Raynor streets just before 1 p.m.
In the last two weeks of January, a Durham judge let five men accused of murder out of jail.
Allen, 21, and the others were released after bond hearings before Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. An unsecured bond requires a signature promising to pay an amount of money if the defendant fails to return to court.
For more than two and a half years, Glenn had been in jail with no bond, which means he couldn’t get out of jail.
The bond hearings highlight the stakes as judges balance defendants’ presumption of innocence with the risks that the suspects they release will commit a violent crime or flee.
The hearings also reveal challenges prosecutors face when witness testimony is key evidence in fatal street crimes, as well as concerns defense attorneys have about prosecutors holding onto weak cases.
Charges: First-degree murder.
Days in jail: 936
Previous conviction: Misdemeanor resist, delay or obstruct justice.
What they said at the bond hearing: Witnesses described a Blue Dodge Neon arriving at the AutoZone with several people in the car, Sharp said.
Witnesses described Glenn pulling into the parking lot in a black four-door Mazda. A suspect got out of the Neon, went to Glenn’s car, back to the Neon and back to Glenn’s car, where he got inside.
A struggle ensued. Witnesses heard a shot fired and say Glenn’s car left the parking lot, hit several other cars and crashed into a telephone pole.
One witness said she recognized the suspect in the case as “Pooh,” Sharp said. A detective went to a house with that witness, where the witness asked an unknown person about Pooh’s real name, and then gave Allen’s name to the detective.
The witness also stated “the victim must have locked the shooter in the car because he pulled out with the shooter in the car. You could see tussling in the car before the victim was shot,” Sharp said.
Two eyewitnesses who claimed to have a good look at the man excluded Allen in a photo line up and both selected light-skin black males, Sharp said. Sharp’s client, Allen, has a dark complexion.
Witnesses said they saw a black man in a white T-shirt leave Glenn’s car and run from the scene. He took his shirt off and dropped it in the road. Tests of hair fibers compared to Glenn’s and Allen’s hair came back inconclusive, Sharp said.
The gun used in the shooting hasn’t been found, nor were fingerprints matching Allen’s.
Glenn had an extensive criminal history and was a known drug dealer, Sharp said. They found drugs, cash and gun in a lock box in his car.
Olga Christina Lopez was initially charged with accessory after the fact to murder and harboring a fugitive. Ellis argued that Allen ran from the scene and Lopez picked him up later.
Lopez pleaded guilty to harboring a fugitive in January 2017 and received time served. The charge accessory after the fact of murder was dismissed.
No bond was set for Allen, which meant he could not leave jail. No bond being set over a two year period is unusual for a 2015 non-capital case. Ellis said the former defense attorney in the case asked not to have a bond hearing.
Security cameras captured a person running from the scene who looks like Allen, Ellis said. Gunshot residue was on the T-shirt, but prosecutors are waiting for DNA test results. The testing has been delayed as Ellis and Sharp argue over how to test and preserve the evidence.
The Neon was later found abandoned in Orange County, Ellis said. Officers found in the car Allen’s fingerprint on a McDonald’s receipt dated about 12 hours after the homicide.
Lopez’s mother told police that she spoke with Allen, and he told her that he went to pick something up, “the guy wouldn’t let him out of the car, so he did what he felt he had to do,” Ellis said.
Allen was also a suspect in a similar crime in which a person expected to sell some marijuana, but was robbed, Ellis said.
What the judge said: “Well, I guess light-skinned is subjective, but he’s probably not light-skinned anywhere except equatorial Congo,” Hudson said.
How the bond changed: No bond to $500,000 unsecured. Conditions: No contact with potential witnesses and no weapons possession