Jury gets case of 3 accused in 'gay' attack Melee occurred at bar in Canton

June 25, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

The prosecutor in a trial stemming from what has been described as a "gay-bashing" incident asked a Baltimore jury yesterday to send a message that taunting and beating gays will not be tolerated.

"Show them you cannot bully and taunt and mistreat and hit people with cars," said prosecutor Carolyn Starks Saxon, pointing to three Dundalk men on trial in connection with a March 27, 1992, melee outside Numbers, a Canton bar that served a predominantly gay clientele.

"The problem is they went there that night to taunt the people at Numbers," Ms. Saxon said during her closing argument. "After a few beers they said, 'Let's go kick around a few gays. What are they going to do about it?'

"But they made a mistake. Those gentlemen at Numbers are men. They have the bodies of men and the strength of men, and when you attack a man, he attacks you back."

Defense attorney Donald Daneman said his clients did not instigate the fight and were simply trying to defend themselves after a bar patron touched off the brawl by grabbing the buttocks of one of his clients. He pointed to discrepancies in details provided by prosecution witnesses and suggested that the real motive for the gay-bashing allegations was a $23.5 million lawsuit filed by the bar patrons against his clients.

Pointing to his clients, Mr. Daneman said: "These men are not gay-bashers, these are three fine young citizens who have futures."

Anthony M. Ambrosino Jr., 22, is charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with injuries received by two bar patrons who were hit by a car during the fracas. Brothers James A. Randolph, 24, and Matthew T. Randolph, 22, are charged with assault.

Bar patrons have testified that Mr. Ambrosino taunted them with slurs such as "fag," sparking a fight that escalated when he and his friends produced baseball bats and other weapons from the trunk of Mr. Ambrosino's car.

Mr. Ambrosino denied taunting bar patrons, but said that after the altercation began, he told James Randolph, "Don't do it; you're going to catch AIDS."

"In the heat of the fight, I may have called someone a fag," he testified. Defense witnesses said the bar patrons produced weapons, including a baseball bat and a 5-foot crowbar.

After closing arguments concluded late yesterday afternoon, the jury hearing the case in Baltimore Circuit Court was told to return today to begin its deliberations.

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