Terps' Barton facing five charges stemming from incident at concert

July 17, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Louis W. Ezrick lost two of his front teeth at a concert on May 1, and he blames Maryland football player Eric Barton, who is facing a felony first-degree assault charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.

Other charges, reported yesterday by the Washington Post, include two second-degree assault charges and two reckless endangerment charges stemming from alleged attacks on Ezrick and Christopher F. Giordano, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., during the University of Maryland's Art Attack concert. Barton, who pleaded not guilty in a court appearance June 12, is scheduled to go on trial on Aug. 11 in Prince George's County Circuit Court in Upper Marlboro.

Barton's attorney, Hassan A. El-Amin of Fort Washington, said the state's attorney's office is conducting a supplementary investigation after El-Amin expressed dissatisfaction with the investigation by the University of Maryland Police Department.

In a statement given to university police, Ezrick said he was among a crowd standing in front of a stage at the McKeldin Mall when he shoved aside by a man -- whom he would later identify as Barton -- making space for his friends. Ezrick protested and then was struck in the head, he told police. Giordano reported being repeatedly shoved.

Ezrick and another witness, Daniel G. Pancotti, identified Barton as the assailant after looking at the Terps roster on the Internet and seeing Barton's picture.

University police say five witnesses back up the story of the two alleged victims. However, El-Amin said that he urged the state's attorney's office to take a second look into the case because he had six witnesses who say Barton did not commit the assault.

Barton, who led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 85 tackles as junior in 1997, is still on the football team.

"We're aware of the alleged incident," UM coach Ron Vanderlinden said in a statement. "We understand there are inconsistencies as to the facts, and we are trustful the legal system will sort out the truth."

The athletic department does not consider disciplining an athlete charged with a crime during the off-season, but athletic director Debbie Yow told the Post: "We're pretty conservative on the side of the student-athlete not playing" once practice begins. The Terps open football practice Aug. 15.

Pub Date: 7/17/98

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