Man found guilty of false report

Updated: January 28, 2009, 5:53 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- A man who says he was shot by Indianapolis Colts receiver Marvin Harrison was convicted of a misdemeanor Wednesday for lying to Philadelphia police about the shooting.

A municipal court judge acquitted Dwight Dixon of two related misdemeanors after tossing out two of three statements he gave police, who had evicted Dixon's lawyer from his hospital room after the shooting.

Dixon, 32, initially told police his name was Malik Turner and that he was shot by two strangers who robbed him in West Philadelphia, several officers testified. Dixon had been shot in the hand and apparently struck in the head with a gun in the April 28 incident.

Police took him from the hospital to a police station, where they interviewed him twice more. Dixon eventually told a homicide detective his real name and said he was shot at the North Philadelphia location, Detective Omar Jenkins testified.

Police soon found his pickup truck riddled with shell casings and bullet holes.

Dixon's lawyers said he lied to police because he feared Harrison. They noted that a bystander struck by a bullet at the scene was put in protective custody for two weeks.

"He was scared, that's why he contacted Mr. [Joseph] Santaguida," defense lawyer Robert Gamburg argued, referring to the attorney Dixon called to the hospital. "He is still scared for his life."

Santaguida told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the first thing Dixon said to him at the hospital was that the All-Pro receiver was the shooter.

"I walk into his room and Dwight whispers to me, 'Marvin Harrison shot me,'" Santaguida told the AP. "He didn't know what to do. He was worried about saying anything because of retribution if word got out and people thought he was a rat."

Harrison's lawyer, Jerome Brown, declined comment Wednesday on the allegation.

The assault occurred nine months ago near Harrison's car wash in North Philadelphia. On Jan. 6, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham said investigators had determined that five of six bullet casings found at the scene came from a Belgian-made handgun owned by Harrison, but said there were too many conflicting accounts of who fired it.

Dixon, a huge man with a shaved head and Mr. T-style beard, has a civil suit pending against Harrison over his injuries. Dixon complained after Wednesday's verdict that Harrison has gotten favorable treatment from authorities.

"He shoots me and is free to go on living in his luxury suburban house and I get charged," Dixon said.

Santaguida did not repeat the hospital conversation when he took the witness stand Wednesday. But he said he emphatically told police that Dixon did not want to talk. Dixon was also worried about his parole status, Santaguida testified.

Dixon served a 5- to 10-year prison term for a parole violation stemming from a 1994 drug case. He remains on parole, and was briefly handcuffed after Wednesday's conviction for allegedly violating parole again. He was released after Gamburg said Dixon plans to appeal the misdemeanor case.

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb said he was satisfied with the verdict.

Harrison was questioned by police soon after the shooting. He said he was at his car wash at the time of the shooting; that he knew Dixon; and that the two had been in a fist fight two weeks earlier after Dixon tried to bring a gun into a bar Harrison owns, Abraham has said.

Harrison said his gun had been at his suburban home the day of the shooting and that it had not been fired since he bought it, Abraham said.

Police instead found the weapon at Harrison's car wash a day after the shooting.

In announcing three weeks ago that they did not have enough evidence to charge anyone with the shooting, prosecutors said they will monitor depositions in Dixon's civil case and the criminal case remains open.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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