Police: Accused murderer’s fingerprint, DNA found on mask worn by alleged killer

Abdul T. White

DOVER — Abdul T. White claims he was pressured to help steal 50 pounds of marijuana from a man who was shot in the head and killed at a Milford residence two years ago.

Prosecutors maintain Mr. White triggered the bullet that felled John G. Harmon on Aug. 8, 2015, while the defendant maintains another man did it.

The 32-year-old Philadelphia man’s fate will be determined by a jury in a trial that opened Monday and will likely continue into next week.

On Wednesday morning a Milford Police detective recounted his response to the scene in the 500 block of North Walnut Street and the investigation that followed over several months.

Sgt. Dwight Young testified the area was “pretty chaotic” with “a vast amount of people on the sidewalks, in the front yard and down the street.” Mr. Harmon had already been transported from the scene. Sgt. Young said he interviewed witnesses and requested help from the Dover Police Department to collect evidence.

According to police, a mask at the home with a fingerprint and DNA was traced to Mr. White. The Delaware Department of Justice said witnesses reportedly saw someone wearing that mask enter a bedroom where Mr. Harmon was slain.

Mr. White, however, is arguing that a “hit man” he identified committed the crime. He was in the kitchen at the time of the incident, according to the defense.

During a Sept. 23, 2015, interview with Sgt. Young, according to police, Mr. White first stated he was not at the scene, then later said he was part of a plan to rob Mr. Harmon of drugs. The defendant was interviewed when taken into custody in Philadelphia before being returned to Delaware.

The sergeant testified that Mr. White recalled in the interview hearing “a small pop, then a second shot” before an alleged suspect ran by him and assailants fled.

An evidence photo taken Dec. 2, 2015, after Mr. White’s arrest, showed a tattoo “Duct tape bandit” on his abdomen, that the prosecution introduced to the jury. Mr. Harmon was found with duct tape tied around his neck when emergency responders and police arrived.

During a series of questions and answers with the detective, defense attorney Edward Gill established that the detective had never asked Mr. White when or why he got the tattoo that had several inch-high letters.

Another man currently incarcerated out of state has been identified by Mr. White as a murder suspect, testimony revealed. Sgt. Young said he was unaware where the supposed suspect is being held, or the length of sentence. It was his understanding the Delaware State Police contacted the alleged suspect, who declined comment and requested an attorney.

The detective left Milford PD’s criminal investigations unit in early 2016, he said, and hasn’t been involved with the case since. He also described investigation as “ongoing.”

Deputy Attorneys General Jason Cohee and Lindsay Taylor are prosecuting the case officiated by Judge Jeffrey Clark. Attorney Alexander Funk is co-defense counsel with Mr. Gill.

Charges, autopsy detailed

Charges against Mr. White include two first-degree murder charges, along with several counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree reckless endangering, aggravated menacing, endangering the welfare of a child, first-degree conspiracy, wearing a disguise, impersonating a police officer and criminal mischief.

Mr. White was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 4, 2016. He remains incarcerated at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, according to documents.

Delaware Division of Forensic Science Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Collins testified to findings from an autopsy conducted on Aug. 9, 2015. The doctor reported that Mr. Harmon suffered a gunshot wound to the back of his head that exited through his right upper eyelid. The gun was fired from an undetermined distance, according to the coroner.

Also, the autopsy located cuts from a sharp object on Mr. Harmon’s arm, abdomen, palm, forearm and shoulder indicating stab wounds indicating possible defensive injuries took place before his death.

Mr. Harmon suffered from blunt force contusions and bruises on his chest, abdomen and shoulder areas, Dr. Collins testified.

In court documents, Mr. White had home addresses listed in Philadelphia and in the first block of NASCAR Lane in Magnolia.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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