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Cosby Case Defense Witness Speaks

July 2, 1998 GMT

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ A woman who tried to sell information about the Ennis Cosby killing to a tabloid disputed the prosecution’s case today against Mikail Markhasev.

Kathleen Bias said she saw Markhasev, friend Eli Zakaria and Sara Peters at Ms. Bias’ Los Alamitos home the night Cosby was slain.

The account conflicts with testimony from another witness who claims to have seen the three about 30 miles away at about the same time in the area where Bill Cosby’s only son was killed on Jan. 16, 1997.

Cosby, 27, was shot to death while changing a flat tire early that morning.

Ms. Bias testified that Zakaria appeared agitated when he and Markhasev arrived at her house later that afternoon.

``He was frantic and out of control,″ she said of Zakaria. ``He was just acting very weird. He was moving very fast. ... He was messy. He didn’t have shoes on. His pant legs were rolled up and he didn’t have a shirt on.″

Asked about Markhasev’s appearance, Ms. Bias said, ``He looked normal. He had shoes on and he had a shirt on.″

The defense has suggested that Zakaria is Cosby’s real killer.

Prosecutor Anne Ingalls attacked Ms. Bias’ recollections, saying they have changed over time. She said Ms. Bias had been negotiating with the Globe newspaper in May 1997 to sell her story.

But Bias said she never received any money from the tabloid because ``we couldn’t agree on the content. They wanted me to lie.″

She said the Globe asked her to say that Zakaria had confessed to her that he was the killer, but she refused.

Another defense witness, Susan Smith, said her daughter Dawn Gomez had been negotiating with the TV tabloid ``Hard Copy″ for a story involving her husband, David Gomez, a convict who gave authorities alleged confession letters from Markhasev.

Ms. Smith said she did not know whether any money was exchanged.

Markhasev, 19, is charged with killing Cosby during a robbery _ a special circumstance that makes him eligible for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole if convicted. Without the robbery allegation, his maximum term would be 30 years to life with a chance of parole.

On Wednesday, Detective Richard Aldahl, who cataloged property found in Cosby’s car the night he died, testified that whoever killed young Cosby left without taking more than $850 in cash and a Rolex watch.

Public defender Henry Hall said also planned to call a cousin of Markhasev’s and an editor from the National Enquirer, which offered a reward for the capture and conviction of Cosby’s killer.