Prosecution details Ray Lewis' visit to Atlanta

While hoping to put Ray Lewis' limousine driver back on the stand Wednesday, the prosecution in the Baltimore linebacker's murder trial explored the details of Lewis' trip to Atlanta for last January's Super Bowl.

Prosecutors called an employee from Delta Air Lines, the comptroller of an Atlanta hotel where Lewis stayed, and the reservation clerk at the hotel where co-defendant Reginald Oakley stayed.

Lewis, Oakley and Joseph Sweeting are charged with murder in the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, who were stabbed in the Jan. 31 fight outside an Atlanta nightclub after party following the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, the prosecution was trying to persuade limousine driver Duane Fassett to return to the stand.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he wanted to examine inconsistencies between Fassett's testimony last week and earlier statements he gave to investigators.

In his opening statement, Howard promised that Fassett would testify that he saw all three defendants fighting with the victims and that Oakley and Sweeting admitted stabbing the men.

But on the stand, Fassett said he saw Lewis raise his hand during the brawl, but never saw him strike anyone. He also said he didn't recall Oakley and Sweeting talking about the stabbings in the limousine.

Howard tried to introduce Fassett's incriminating statements Tuesday through the testimony of a police detective. But the judge said the law requires prosecutors first to confront witnesses about inconsistent statements, and said Howard failed to do that.

Howard's assistant, Clint Rucker, said Wednesday the state hopes Fassett will return voluntarily, but prosecutors will subpoena him if not. He said he expects Fassett to testify this week.

Fassett's lawyer, David Irwin, said Wednesday that Fassett would not return unless a judge orders him to. Irwin said defence lawyers' intense questioning left his client upset and ill.

"He was there trying to be fair to everybody," Irwin said. "He felt embarrassed, ridiculed, demeaned."

The prosecution Wednesday called Linda D. Lawrence, a hotel clerk at a Marriott in Atlanta. She said Oakley came to the front desk around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 31 and told her he could not get back into his room because he had been robbed.

Oakley went to his room and checked out five to 10 minutes later, Lawrence said. She also said she noticed a "real small bandage" under Oakley's left ear. Defence lawyers have said Oakley had a deep gash from being attacked with a champagne bottle.

Robert Hogan, an analyst for Delta Air Lines, gave testimony that suggested Oakley tried to leave town quickly. He said Oakley had reservations to fly out of Atlanta at 10:05 p.m. on Jan. 31, but tried to find a seat on three earlier flights starting at 10:15 a.m.