UPPER MARLBORO — A man who was escorted out of an Applebee’s restaurant was the one who pulled the trigger in the shooting that killed an off-duty Maryland state trooper, a police detective testified Wednesday.
Cyril Cornelius Williams, 28, of Seat Pleasant, faces first-degree murder and other charges in the June 11 death of Trooper Wesley Brown, 24, who had been working security at the restaurant in Forestville.
Another man, Anthony A. Milton II, 28, also faces charges after being indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the case.
Williams appeared in Prince George’s County court Wednesday in a blue jumpsuit, reflecting the state prison in Jessup where he’s being held without bond. Officials say he’s in state custody because of parole violations.
At the preliminary hearing, three sheriff’s deputies surrounded Williams, whose handcuffs were removed while he was seated. He appeared to listen intently to testimony from county police Detective Kenneth Doyle.
Doyle said Milton told police that he and Williams had gone to the restaurant. Milton said Williams walked next to a tree and then shot at Brown as the officer left the restaurant, according to Doyle. He said other witnesses said the two men fled and the trooper fell to the ground. Authorities had not previously identified who pulled the trigger.
Doyle also said the handgun used in the shooting was later recovered in Milton’s backyard. He said there have been DNA and fingerprint tests. In addition, he said surveillance video didn’t show Milton, but Williams can be seen in the footage.
Police have said Brown removed Williams from the Applebee’s after a dispute about an unpaid bill.
Defense attorney John McKenna said Milton’s statements are the only evidence linking Williams to the shooting. McKenna questioned Milton’s credibility, citing that he gave some “untruthful” statements to police.
“His word may be suspect,” McKenna said of Milton.
The judge found probable cause to allow the case to move forward.
After the hearing, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey said prosecutors will begin the grand jury and indictment process. The case is eligible for the death penalty, but Ivey said he has not decided whether to seek it in the case.
Ivey said his office is in touch with Brown’s family members, who he said want varying levels of details about the case. “We’re comfortable about getting them the information they want,” he said.
First Sgt. Rodney Morris, who worked with Brown at the state police barracks not far from the restaurant, also attended the hearing.
Williams has an extensive criminal record, including an attempted murder charge in 2006 for allegedly shooting at a police officer. That charge was later dropped. His history also includes a drug conviction and being found guilty of reckless endangerment and handgun charges.
Williams’ father, Leonard, said after the hearing it’s difficult seeing his son in custody and he’s still trying to understand what happened regarding the shooting.
“This is the first time I’ve seen him locked up,” Leonard Williams said. “I don’t feel too good about it.”