Story of Self-Defense ‘Made Up,’ Prosecutor Argues in Fells Point Shooting Trial

The first of four co-defendants received a guilty verdict on Jan. 17 in connection to a shooting in Fells Point in January 2022.

Joel Duncan, 26, was found guilty of 26 charges, including multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder and assault as well as numerous weapons charges. He was found not guilty of five weapons charges, while an additional three charges of attempted second-degree murder rendered no verdict.

During closing arguments, the prosecution told the jury that the defense counsel’s argument of self-defense was “a made-up story.” Instead, it was Duncan and his co-defendants—Luciano Bruno, 27; Nathan Presberry, 26; and Ronald Maranto, 31—who “used more force than was necessary” when they attacked the three victims, one of whom was shot but survived.

The prosecutor, once again, played video surveillance footage of the shooting for the jury, pinpointing the exact moment the camera captured sudden flashes of light that signaled gunfire. He also reminded the jury how all three victims were seen with no weapons, therefore, not posing an imminent threat to the defendant and his friends.

“It’s a made-up story, and this is a made-up defense,” the prosecutor said.

Mann maintained that Duncan and his friends were sought after by the three alleged victims who wanted to fight after a prior scuffle at The Admiral’s Cup restaurant and bar earlier that night.

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