NATION IN BRIEF : NEW YORK : Man Won't Testify, Is Charged in Slaying

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A key witness in the racially motivated slaying of a black teen-ager in a predominantly white Brooklyn neighborhood has refused to testify for the prosecution and was charged with second-degree murder. Gerald DiChiara, the lawyer for John Vento, 21, said his client had no role in the attack and should not have to testify. Prosecutors consider Vento a key witness in the slaying Aug. 23 of Yusuf Hawkins, 16, a black youth shot by a neighborhood gang in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn.

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