Man Guilty Of Manslaughter In Street Fight Stabbing

August 04, 1991|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — A 32-year-old Union Bridge man faces up to 10 years in prison following his conviction on manslaughter and battery charges in the stabbing death of a Finksburg man during a street fight.

Donald Allen McCall of Main Street also was charged with first- and second-degree murder in the Feb. 8 stabbing death of Roger Lee Childers, 24, of the 2500 block of Lawndale Road.

After deliberating 3 1/2 hours, the Carroll Circuit Court jury onWednesday found McCall not guilty of the murder charges.

In finding McCall guilty of manslaughter -- a killing without clear premeditation or malice -- the jury rejected his claim that he stabbed Childers in self-defense.

McCall had testified that Childers was the aggressor in the fatal fight and in an earlier confrontation between the two men while they were shooting pool at E. J.'s bar in Union Bridge.

But Senior Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill said that while Childers may have been aggressive, it was McCall who raised the fightto a deadly level.

The confrontation began when the men disagreedover a rule during a pool game at the bar, court testimony showed.

McCall said he thought the fight had ended when the men were asked to leave the bar.

But the row began anew about 1:45 a.m. when Childers' girlfriend called McCall's apartment later that night to talk to McCall's wife, he said.

McCall testified that he answered the phone and could hear Childers in the background shouting obscenities and threatening to kill him.

Minutes later, Childers and three others arrived at McCall's apartment, where they started throwing things at the windows and shouting obscenities.

McCall testified that his wife ran down to the street and that he followed to protect her.

He said he did not carry the knife intentionally, but that it was in the pocket of the jeans he was wearing.

But Hill maintained that when Childers showed up outside McCall's apartment a couple of hours after the first fight, McCall armed himself with a buck knife so he could "guarantee a victory" in the second.

Hill told the jury McCall was embarrassed during the fight in the bar because Childers pulled his hair and showed him up. She said that McCall was out for revenge when the fight resumed later that night.

"Do we allow one man to kill another because he's insulted and humiliated," Hill asked the juryin her closing argument. "Murder is not mitigated by the ego of the defendant."

She said medical evidence showed Childers was not stabbed in the heat of a fight, as there were no injuries on his hands and arms to indicate he tried to defend himself.

McCall's attorneys,J. Barry Hughes and William W. Weisgerber of Westminster, said that their client stabbed Childers because he feared for his life.

"If Childers was not stabbed that night, he would be in the defense chair" for assaulting McCall, Hughes told the jury in his closing argument.

While the state had a "quantity of evidence" in the case, Hughessaid, it did not have a "quality of proof" that McCall did not act in self-defense.

Hughes accused Hill of "trying a nasty case with clean witnesses" because she did not call many of the fight's witnesses to testify and relied heavily on the testimony of state troopers and doctors to prove her case.

McCall remains free on $75,000 bond while awaiting sentencing Sept. 25.

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