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Suspect linked to shooting

| Tuesday, April 1, 2003, 12:00 p.m.

At first, Elva Dorsey told police she didn't see who fired the shots. But soon the burden of what she'd seen was just too much.

"Mike was holding a handgun and was shooting," Dorsey said, wiping away her tears, as she testified Monday in a preliminary hearing for Michael Burkes, 20, of Beltzhoover, accused in the killing of Kenneth Lee Edmonds, 22, of McDonald.

Deputy Coroner Timothy Uhrich ordered Burkes, 20, of Climax Street, to stand trial for homicide. Edmonds was gunned down March 7 as he argued about an unpaid cellular phone bill with Dorsey's daughter, Jamie, in the 300 block of Orchard Place, Allentown. Edmonds died of gunshot wounds to the neck and torso.

Homicide charges against Burkes were dismissed March 20 after two witnesses offered different accounts of the incident. Burkes was rearrested by homicide detectives after Dorsey, 53, came forward last week.

She testified that she told a friend that she was bothered by what she'd seen. The friend urged her to contact police, and Dorsey then identified Burkes, whom she has known for 10 years, according to testimony.

"All of a sudden, I heard a shot, and I turned to my left and I saw sparks" coming from a handgun held by Burkes, Dorsey testified.

Dorsey said Burkes and several others who had been playing cards in a house across the street gathered around Edmonds' truck as the couple argued over a $1,600 phone bill.

Burkes exchanged words with Edmonds, then pulled out a gun, police said.

After the shooting, Edmonds traveled about two blocks in his truck before the vehicle crashed.

Dorsey said her daughter told her that Edmonds asked that police not be called because he was carrying a gun and would get in trouble. Dorsey said she pretended to call police, but didn't complete the call. Police said no gun was found on Edmonds.

Dorsey said Burkes later called her and said police "don't have nothing on him" and he was "sorry that it happened." He apologized for being "disrespectful in front of me," she said.

Dorsey said that before the shooting, she begged Edmonds, who had been drinking, to leave. But Edmonds, she said, refused to go without her daughter, who also refused to leave.

Edmonds and her daughter argued frequently, but were best friends, Dorsey said.

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