SECONDS AFTER Alfred Whitefield allegedly agreed to pay $500 a week for the privilege of selling drugs on a Kensington street corner that belonged to someone else, he opened fire on a woman and man, killing them, witnesses told a Philadelphia judge yesterday.
After executing Carmen Medina, 31, and her boyfriend, Thomas Gorman, 39, in a car on Gurney Street on April 23, Whitefield, 42, drove to a bar with a terror-stricken witness before taking her to an apartment, one witness said.
The woman, whose name the Daily News is withholding at the request of the District Attorney's Office, said she was near the car during the 11:19 p.m. shootings. Out of fear, she stayed in the apartment where Whitefield took her for four days before managing to escape when he left, she testified during a preliminary hearing yesterday.
The woman said that two weeks after the slayings, she ran into an intoxicated Whitefield, who attacked her and threatened to kill her with a butcher knife.
After hearing from another witness, Medina's sister-in-law, who was inside the car and shielded Medina's 11-year-old son during the slayings, Common Pleas Judge Felice Rowley Stack held Whitefield for trial on two counts of murder and related charges. He is being held without bail.
Medina's son, who is now 12, did not testify, but will be given an opportunity to identify Whitefield in a police photo lineup next month, Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega said.
Defense attorney David Michael Walker unsuccessfully argued that the two women who testified should also have to identify his client from a lineup given the gravity of the charges. If convicted, the defendant could be sentenced to life without parole or death if prosecutors decide to make this a capital case.
"What did not come out in court but what is so sad is that the little boy was holding his mom's hand saying, 'You're going to be OK, you're going to be OK,' " before she died next to the car, Vega said after the hearing.
Medina's sister-in-law, whose name Vega also requested not be published for her safety, testified that just before the shootings, Medina and Whitefield had been discussing an agreement that called for Whitefield to pay Medina $500 a week to sell drugs on a corner controlled by the victim's family.
Medina told Whitefield that in the event she was not available to collect the money, he should give it to the sister-in-law, the woman testified.
" 'Yeah, yeah,' " she said Whitefield replied. But as Medina walked from the sidewalk to the driver's side of the parked car, the defendant pulled a gun and began shooting her, said the sister-in-law, who was in the back seat with the boy.
She covered the child when the shooting started, and when it was over, she realized that Gorman, in the front passenger seat, had also been shot and that Whitefield had run away, she said.
A formal arraignment for Whitefield is scheduled for Dec. 24.