Survivor recalls gruesome attack in testimony
In a soft but firm voice, a young woman described how she watched as her husband was fatally stabbed and then, when the attacker turned the knife on her, played dead.
Genea Simms Fountain, 22, testified Wednesday for the state against Lawrence T. Covington, relating a dramatic narrative.
Covington, 35, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery, and other crimes in connection with the approximately noontime attack last March 26 in which Maurice Fountain, 24, and LePrince Hall, 41, were stabbed to death. Fountain was Genea's husband. Hall was her stepfather.
They were attacked in Hall's home -- where they all lived -- in an upper-middle class neighborhood near Upper Marlboro in Pr. George's County.
They were attacked in Hall's home -- where they all lived -- in an upper-middle class neighborhood near Upper Marlboro.
On Wednesday, about two dozen relatives and friends of the victims on one side of the courtroom and Covington's mother and two other relatives on the other side sat in rapt silence as Genea Fountain, 22, provided a riveting account of the attack.
Fountain, a petite woman, settled into the witness chair about 10 feet from where the heavyset Covington was sitting at the defense table.
Under direct examination by Assistant State's Attorney Mike Glynn, Fountain described how a man in a hooded sweatshirt came to the home on a cold March day. Fountain said she passed by him as she walked to the garage and paid little attention to him as he spoke to her husband.
Moments later, Fountain testified, she walked back into the home and was confronted by the man, who was brandishing a handgun. Fountain, pregnant at the time, dropped what she had in her hands -- an image of an ultrasound showing her unborn child, and her cellphone.
The attacker ordered Maurice and her to the ground, Fountain testified. The assailant tied their hands behind their backs with plastic ties, Fountain said. The attacker pushed Maurice against a wall near the kitchen, and he lay there face-down; Fountain said she crawled on her belly to be next to him.
Maurice said, "Please don't hurt her because she is pregnant and we just got married," Fountain said.
The attacker responded that he already knew, said Fountain, then went into the kitchen. She heard him rumbling around.
The attacker returned and demanded anything that was valuable. Fountain said she told him he could take anything, and he took her and her husband's wedding bands off their fingers.
The attacker also used a knife -- which prosecutors allege was obtained from the kitchen -- to break off her purse strap, Fountain said. The attacker dumped out the contents of her bag and said if he found anything valuable he would kill her, Fountain said.
"I looked up, and he goes over and stabs Maurice," Fountain testified. "I screamed. He stabbed me."
Fountain said the attacker stabbed her in the side of her neck, then stabbed Maurice again, then stabbed her again in the neck. "He tells me to die," Fountain testified. "And then I just laid there and played dead."
The attacker took car keys and left. (Prosecutors allege Covington took the keys to Hall's Cadillac Escalade and escaped with the vehicle.)
Fountain said she made her way up to her feet and climbed atop a wooden chair that was near a wall where a phone was mounted. Fountain said she knocked the phone off the hook with her face, and tried to dial 911 with her face, but was unable to.
She said she noticed her cellphone -- a touchphone that has an LCD screen instead of a keypad -- on the ground. With her hands, she managed to call 911.
She said she could hear Maurice breathing.
Emergency workers and police arrived and tended to her and Maurice, Fountain testified.
Prosectors and police said Hall's body was found in the basement of the home.
At the end of the lengthy direct examination, Glynn asked Fountain if she could identify her attacker.
Fountain, who rarely looked at Covington during her daylong turn on the witness stand, turned to her left, pointed at the defendant, and described the clothes he was wearing -- a dark blue dress shirt and dark trousers.
Fountain later gave birth to a girl.
Trial testimony is typically not heard in Upper Marlboro on Fridays. Circuit Court Judge Sheila R. Tillerson-Adams, who is presiding over the trial, will be unavailable next Monday and Tuesday, officials said. The trial is scheduled to resume next Wednesday.
-- Ruben Castaneda
December 4, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Pr. George's , Ruben Castaneda
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