Witness says teens accused in death taunted victim

Defense says punches, kicks did not kill man

March 16, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Three Essex teen-agers charged with beating a man to death near Kenwood High School in September returned to the scene and taunted him as he lay unconscious, according to testimony yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

James John Francis, 18; Sean Kevin Adams, 19; and Robin Marie Fogle, 18, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charles Edward Pall Sr., 42, on Sept. 17.

Assistant State's Attorney John Reilly told jurors in opening statements yesterday that Pall was walking along Stemmers Run Road when he flicked a cigarette at the windshield of a passing car driven by Scott Meadows, a friend of the defendants.

Meadows stopped his car, and the defendants confronted Pall, Reilly said.

Pall, a truck driver, had been drinking in two bars with a friend after they had spent the day moving Pall's family into a new home in Essex, Reilly said.

Pall decided to walk home about 3 a.m. after the friend's car blew out a tire and they couldn't find the jack, Reilly said.

Reilly said Pall spoke to the group and began wrapping his belt around his hand as if getting ready to fight when Adams tackled Pall and the fight began. The three defendants acknowledged being involved, according to their statements to police, he said.

"Nobody says Charles Pall was fighting back. Nobody says he was able to do anything," Reilly told jurors.

Lawyers for the defendants said autopsy results show that Pall had used cocaine and that his blood-alcohol level was 0.20 percent, twice the 0.10 percent limit for drunken driving.

"Reason isn't necessarily what occurs at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, when people have been drinking, when people have been using drugs and when people have been cussing each other out," said Gordon Tayback, Francis' lawyer.

The autopsy also shows that Pall died later that day at Maryland Shock Trauma Center from a single blow to the back of the head - suffered when he was tackled - and not by the kicks and punches thrown after he fell, the defense lawyers said.

"The issue here is: Did these three kids intend to kill Mr. Pall? Did they mean to cause his death?" said Nicholas Comaromi, Adams' lawyer.

In testimony yesterday, Amanda Vendetti, who lives near the scene, said she was awakened that morning by an argument. She testified that she saw Pall lying in the street after the defendants left.

She said that after driving off, they returned to the scene twice, honking the car's horn and flashing its lights as they drove by.

"They were taunting him," Vendetti said. "The radio was on, and it sounded like they were having a party in the car."

The case is expected to go to the jury next week.

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