Torment caused death, doctor testifies

February 17, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A state pathologist told an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge yesterday that a 61-year-old homeless man, who prosecutors say was taunted and tormented by two college students, died from a heart attack caused by the harassment.

Dr. Mario F. Golle Jr., an assistant state medical examiner, said that Arch Baldwin may have had liver disease, clogged arteries and pancreas problems when he died in July 1992, but that the attack caused enough stress on his heart to kill him.

"You have a heart that was extremely compromised, and any stressful activity could have caused it to fail," he said.

Dr. Golle's testimony came yesterday, in the third day of the trial for Adam Schlossman and Theodore Reshetiloff, 21-year-old students at Anne Arundel Community College charged in the death of Mr. Baldwin. Both are being tried before Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. on charges of manslaughter and assault with intent to maim.

According to testimony, Mr. Baldwin used to stay in the woods behind a house on Jefferson Place in Annapolis that Mr. Schlossman shared with some acquaintances.

One night in July 1992, Mr. Schlossman found Mr. Baldwin in the neighborhood and called to his friends, telling them "a bum" was lying in the woods passed out, a house mate testified.

Drunk themselves, the men roused the victim, humiliated and taunted him, pouring beer on him, urinating on him, knocking him down when he tried to stand up and pushing him into a 4-foot-deep gully, where they left him.

They pelted him with stones and dirt, and at one point, Mr. Reshetiloff threw part of a cinder block at him, according to Willis Lewin Usilton, one of the housemates.

When the men went back to check on Mr. Baldwin the next day, they found him dead.

After dragging his body deeper into the woods on a sled, they buried him in a shallow grave, breaking one of his legs so that he would fit into it, Mr. Usilton said.

The body was found nine months later when one of the housemates went to the police, according to testimony.

The key issue in the case is whether the defendants' harassment caused Mr. Baldwin's death, according to Deputy State's Attorney William Roessler.

In testimony yesterday, William Ferris, Mr. Reshetiloff's lawyer, and Keith Krissoff, who represents Mr. Schlossman, emphasized that before his death, Mr. Baldwin had been repeatedly hospitalized for alcohol related ailments such as liver disease, pancreas problems, clogged arteries and hepatitis.

Alcohol, not harassment, probably caused Mr. Baldwin's death, they argued.

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