Paralyzed victim testifies against accused Dover shooter

DOVER — A 19-year-old Dover man testified Tuesday morning to circumstances surrounding a 2015 shooting that left him paralyzed from the neck down and requiring assistance in breathing.

Using a wheelchair and with a nurse nearby, Adam Midgette took the stand in Kent County Superior Court. He recounted his version of events that brought the arrest of a man he once used to “hang out with.”

Rakim Strickland is charged with first-degree attempted murder and other alleged offenses regarding a shooting on May 15, 2015, in the Capital Green neighborhood in an alleyway area near Mr. Midgette’s home in the 400 block of East Water Street.

Rakim Strickland

Rakim Strickland

Mr. Midgette testified Mr. Strickland “came and unloaded his gun on my car” before he fell unconscious.

Mr. Midgette was in the driver’s seat of a gold Dodge Intrepid near his home and suffered what an arriving Dover Police Department officer described as a “baseball-sized” gunshot wound in his left shoulder. Also, the officer testified he saw three large holes in the vehicle.

The defense pointed to apparent inconsistencies and untruths in statements made to investigating police and Deputy Attorney General Jason Cohee, to which Mr. Midgette attributed to being “nervous, frightened, scared, afraid” of describing what he said actually happened.

“I was scared for my life,” Mr. Midgette testified. “My family was still out there and he had connections in the street.”

According to testimony by a Dover Police detective, Mr. Strickland was not identified as a suspect in two separate photo lineups in which other men were selected with a 75 percent certainty according to the witnesses.

Mr. Strickland was taken into custody in Elkton, Maryland, on June 4, 2015, and gave a DNA swab voluntarily, the detective testified. No other individuals had DNA samples taken, according to police.

DNA swabs were taken from a shotgun located in a basement across the street from the shooting, which determined that at least three people touched the firearm, one being a male, according to stipulated facts by both sides.

The shotgun was traced by police and found to be purchased by a man in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2004, according to stipulated facts by prosecution and defense.

Five spent shotgun shells were located on steps and a stoop at the residence across the street, according to police testimony. Also, 15 rounds of unspent ammunition were found in the basement with the shotgun.

Speaking generally, a Dover Police detective testified shotgun shells typically are found within about 10 feet of where they were discharged.

Mr. Midgette said the shotgun was discharged within approximately 10 feet of the vehicle and told Deputy Attorney General Cohee last week that the shotgun was discharged toward the side and front of the car.

Other charges against Mr. Strickland include possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm/ammunition by person prohibited (two counts), criminal mischief greater than $1,000 and first-degree criminal trespass. He is being held at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown.

According to Mr. Midgette, Mr. Strickland was angry after a gun was taken from him by another man a day or two before the shooting incident. “It wasn’t OK with him,” he said.

The prosecution rested just after 2 p.m., and the defense may call one witness to the stand when deliberations resume at 9:15 a.m. today. It was undetermined whether Mr. Strickland will choose to testify.

Attorneys on both sides then left to discuss jury instructions with Judge Robert B. Young.

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