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Wyandanch woman testifies for defense in Shawn Lawrence murder trial

Shawn Lawrence, of North Amityville, was convicted of

Shawn Lawrence, of North Amityville, was convicted of killing James Terry and seriously injuring two other men during a parking lot ambush on Jan. 12, 2010, and was sentenced Thursday, July 2, 2015, to the maximum of 75 years to life in prison. Credit: Suffolk County Sheriff's Office

The partner of a North Amityville man who was shot to death testified Thursday for the defense, saying the man who police say was an eyewitness to the killing arrived with her at the murder scene up to an hour after it happened.

The testimony of Angela Wilson, mother of shooting victim James Terry's children, was brief but potentially important for defendant Shawn Lawrence, 42, because it apparently corroborated some of the testimony of defense witness Tariq Burwell, 35. Burwell testified this week that he didn't see the shooting, didn't talk to the police about it and that a signature on a statement about it is not his.

Lawrence is charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder. He is accused of taking part in a Jan. 12, 2010, shooting that killed Terry, 44, and left David Hodges and Ralph Council Jr., 49, injured.

During questioning by Sayville defense attorney Joseph Hanshe before state Supreme Court Justice William Condon in Riverhead, Wilson said that when she heard Terry had been killed, she called her cousin Sherry Morant and asked her to pick her up at her Wyandanch apartment and take her to Andpress Plaza, the North Amityville apartment complex where the shooting had taken place. When Morant arrived 45 minutes to an hour later, Wilson said she was with her husband, Burwell.

During cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, Wilson said she lives no more than 15 minutes from Andpress Plaza and that Morant and Burwell live near her.

Police later arrested Lawrence based on a statement they said Burwell provided, which said he had seen the shooting and identified Lawrence and Allen McGhee as two of the shooters. McGhee pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is serving 12 years in prison.

Earlier Thursday, Kurtzrock spent much of the afternoon attacking Burwell's credibility and character while cross-examining him. Kurtzrock, noting that Burwell has spent a lot of time in prison, suggested that he disavowed the police statement because he was worried about being seen as a snitch in prison.

Burwell denied that.

"Everybody [in prison] knows I wouldn't do that," he said, saying he wouldn't snitch. "Everybody knows the kind of person I am."

Burwell continued to insist that he never gave a statement about the shooting to detectives and that he wasn't at Andpress Plaza when it happened.

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