Baltimore Witness

Baltimore Courthouse

As the February 1 attempted murder trial of defendant Luciano Bruno began, lawyers were divided over who started the fight, which ended in a nonfatal shooting at Fell’s Point in January 2022.

Bruno, 27, is the third co-defendant to be tried in connection with an attempted murder in the 1700 block of Thames Street, following the concluded court cases of Joel Duncan and Nathan Presberry, both 26. In addition to the attempted murder, Bruno is on trial for several Charges and multiple weapon loads.

In the eyes of prosecutors, Bruno and Duncan were the instigators of the incident, which began around 1 a.m. on January 15, 2022 at The Admiral’s Cup restaurant and bar. Staff and security soon threw the two men out of the bar, both of whom then got into a 2019 Toyota RAV4 with Presberry and 32-year-old Ronald Maranto reversed into a car park near Sagamore Pendry.

“[The co-defendants] wanted to continue this fight outside,” the prosecutor told the jury during Wednesday’s opening statement. “There was no reason for that. No reason.”

Now outside, the three victims allegedly saw the vehicle swerve out of the parking lot and stop 6 to 10 feet in front of them, the prosecutor said, noting the jury would see CCTV footage that recorded muzzle fires from the vehicle before it drove away.

Prosecutors said Maranto’s wallet was later found at the scene after he fell from the vehicle as it turned onto N. Broadway.

Responding to prosecutors’ opening statement, Bruno’s defense attorney Andre Mahasa said he only agrees with two of his statements: the location of the incident and that the shooting should not have happened.

“In court, like every day in life, there are always two sides to every story,” Mahasa continued, and from his perspective, it was the alleged victims who “attacked” Bruno and Duncan in Admiral’s Cup.

Mahasa agreed that the co-defendants left the bar and got into the Toyota RAV4 with their friends; However, he said they slowly drove around to look for parking so they could continue their night – not looking for the victims, prosecutors said. When the victims saw the co-defendants’ vehicle, the three men removed weapons from their vehicle before hitting the Toyota RAV4 and breaking a window.

“[The victims] did not call the police or security after the Admiral’s Cup fight,” Mahasa said. “You would take care of it yourself.”

Defense counsel concluded that no forensic evidence, fingerprints, or gun evidence would be presented to the jury by prosecutors as the trial progressed.

Testimony began Wednesday morning before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Christopher Panos and was scheduled to continue into the afternoon and resume on February 3.

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