2 found guilty of manslaughter in attack in park Third defendant, also teen-ager, freed

April 16, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Two of three teen-agers accused of bludgeoning a man to death last summer in Patterson Park were convicted yesterday of manslaughter and carrying a deadly weapon, while the third defendant was acquitted.

The jury deliberated for nine hours before convicting Terry A. Ostrowski, 18, and Anthony Fields, 16, of manslaughter, rather than second-degree murder as charged, in the June 27 death of James Charles Turch.

Ostrowski, who prosecutors said split Mr. Turch's skull with blows from a 4-foot wooden stake, and Fields, accused of kicking the victim's face so hard he left a shoe imprint, each faces a maximum of 13 years in jail. They are to be sentenced June 8.

The third defendant, Christopher Mills, 18, was found not guilty on all charges but left the courtroom bitterly angry that he had to leave his two friends behind.

"We went to that park together, and we should be leaving this courtroom together. This is a tremendous injustice for the both of them," said Mr. Mills, who was accused of throwing the first punch. "The person who delivered the blows that killed that man was not brought to justice," he said, referring to other people he felt should have been charged in the death.

During the trial before Baltimore Circuit Judge Andre M. Davis, defense attorneys contended the three young men had been on a late-night drinking binge when they went to Patterson Park last June.

The defendants testified that they encountered Mr. Turch, who also had been drinking, and that Mr. Turch tried to sexually molest Fields. The ensuing fight occurred when Ostrowski and Mr. Mills came to the aid of their friend, argued M. Cristina Gutierrez, Fields' attorney.

A large throng of revelers who regularly gather in the park also became involved in the confrontation, and -- according to arguments from the defendants and their lawyers -- several others beat Mr. Turch, who the attorneys maintained was a homosexual.

After yesterday's verdict, some jurors said that the evidence against the defendants was not overwhelming enough to convict them of murder, and that there was conflicting testimony as to who did what during the fight.

"The case against Mr. Mills definitely was not as strong. We think we made the right decision," said juror Dwayne Carter.

Jury forewoman Valerie Smallwood said, "I felt we made the best decision based on the evidence we had."

A key witness in the trial, Kimberly Padgett, testified that she saw Ostrowski and Fields severely beating Mr. Turch, who she said was laying powerless on the ground.

Miss Padgett, the 18-year-old former girlfriend of Mr. Mills, said the boys began beating Mr. Turch after Ostrowski claimed that the victim tried to solicit sexual favors from them.

"They were chasing this man and screaming at him. They were acting stupid," Miss Padgett testified. "The man kept walking. He was trying to ignore them."

Ostrowski grabbed a stick that was used as a support for a tree and clouted Mr. Turch across the back and in the head, Miss Padgett said.

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