STAMFORD -- A probable cause hearing will be held next month to determine if police had enough evidence to charge a Norwalk man with murder.
The attorney for Pernell McBride is arguing the eyewitnesses who identified his client in a photo lineup following a May 23 shooting were not completely certain and should not be allowed to testify.
McBride is accused of gunning down 35-year-old John Alston on a South Norwalk street.
At 3 p.m. on May 23, McBride was with his brother-in-law, Edwin "Fondo" Russell, and two or three other men when they approached Alston in the yard of 119 S. Main St., according to McBride's six-page arrest warrant affidavit.
Witnesses said the group was angry at Alston for repeatedly insulting Russell's sister Zina.
McBride, 49, of 93 Suncrest Road, will have the hearing before Judge Richard Comerford on Oct. 18 to determine if the case should go forward.
"We are going to have a discussion of whether or not the eyewitnesses' testimony will be allowed in the hearing of probable cause," defense attorney Wayne Keeney said. "It is the defense contention that it is more prejudicial than it is probative because the eye witnesses "
Keeney said he will present that argument at the start of the hearing.
If probable cause is determined, Keeney said he will go forward with the case.
"There is no question that this case is going to trial," he said.
Senior Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Valdes said, "It is an interesting argument. It will be resolved in court."
McBride was allegedly seen by a homeowner walking up to Alston and pulling out a handgun. He shot once at Alston, who then ran into the driveway and collapsed, the affidavit states.
The witness said while she did not know the gunman's name, she would be able to recognize him if she saw him again.
The woman looked at a pool of 700 photographs with no assistance. Once she saw McBride's picture, she immediately contacted a detective to tell him the man in the picture was the one she saw kill Alston, the document states. The woman said she was 60 percent certain of the identification.
The daughter of the homeowner, also a witness, picked McBride's picture out of 16 offered to her and said she was 50 percent certain that McBride was one of the four or five men who attacked Alston, police said.
Another woman, who stopped in a car in front of 119 S. Main St. when the shooting took place, also picked Alston's photo, police said. The woman said she was 80 percent sure that McBride shot Alston, because she was so close when it happened, the affidavit said.
McMcBride has been in custoday since police found him at a relative's home in New York City about a week after the murder. He is being held on $1 million bond at the high-security MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.