Ex-cops on trial for slaying over stolen pizza claim self-defense

DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO Protesters picket the shooting of Lawrence Allen in 2010.
DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO Protesters picket the shooting of Lawrence Allen in 2010.
Posted: November 21, 2013

CHAUNCEY ELLISON and Robin Fortune, two fired Philadelphia cops, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges stemming from a 2008 incident that began with a stolen slice of pizza and ended when Ellison shot a man off duty.

Ellison, 40, is charged with voluntary manslaughter, conspiracy, reckless endangerment and possession of an instrument of crime in the death of Lawrence Allen, 20, whom he shot Nov. 17, 2008.

The bullet from the former sergeant's department-issued Glock pierced Allen's shoulder and severed his spinal cord. He died of infections three months later.

Fortune, 45, is charged with reckless endangerment and conspiracy for allegedly instigating her boyfriend to shoot Allen.

"Pop one of these motherf---ers," a grand-jury report quoted Fortune as having said just before Ellison shot Allen in front of the victim's home on Renovo Street near Andrews in West Oak Lane.

Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman, in her opening statement yesterday, told the jury that Ellison's son, Chauncey Jr., 14, was walking with Fortune's 14-year-old son when he was punched and robbed of his pizza by a friend of Allen's, Demetrius Haywood, 16.

Instead of calling 9-1-1 when the boys went home and reported the attack, Fairman said, the defendants "decided to go out and get the robbers themselves."

The defendants and their children drove around looking for Haywood, and when they spotted him in front of Allen's house, Ellison sped the wrong way down Renovo Street with a gun sticking out the window, Fairman said.

"Don't you know who we are?" Fortune demanded of Allen, Haywood and others in front of the house, Fairman said.

"Chill, chill," said Allen, who offered to pay for the pizza to keep the peace, Fairman said. Instead, Ellison shot Allen as he turned to walk away, Fairman said.

Brian McMonagle, Ellison's attorney, and Gerald Stanshine, Fortune's attorney, told the jury that their clients are not guilty, because Allen brought his death on himself by pulling a silver handgun during the incident.

McMonagle told the jurors that Fairman failed to mention that Allen was armed and that he was with Haywood during the pizza robbery.

Multiple witnesses - some who watched from their windows - told police and the grand jury that they saw Allen holding a gun just before Ellison shot him, said McMonagle, who added that he would call to the stand one of those witnesses if Fairman did not. By the time police arrived, McMonagle said, Allen's friends had driven him to the hospital and had gotten rid of his gun.

"The only person who recklessly endangered another person was Lawrence Allen," Stanshine said.

Allen's mother, Terry Bowen, said she hopes the defendants will spend many years in prison.

"He should have known the protocol of what to do the night he shot my son," she told a reporter. "He didn't do that, and I think we all need to stand up and fight this business of what's going on with these Philadelphia police."


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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