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Author Topic: Case Study: A shooting in Philly  (Read 1762 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: April 20, 2010, 04:26:49 PM »

Posted on Sat, Apr. 17, 2010

Temple law student ordered to trial in shooting

By MENSAH M. DEAN
Philadelphia Daily News
deanm@phillynews.com 215-854-5949

Gerald Ung, the third-year Temple University law school student charged with shooting a Villanova University graduate five times in front of the Fox29 studios in January, must go to trial, a Philadelphia judge said yesterday.
Despite arguments during the preliminary hearing from defense attorney Jack McMahon that Ung, 28, acted in self-defense after being confronted by four men, Philadelphia Municipal Judge David Shuter said his ruling was based on the number of bullets fired at vital body parts.

Ung, out on bail, is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in the shooting of Edward DiDonato Jr. at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 17.

Shuter dismissed two additional gun charges because Ung had a valid handgun permit from his home state of Virginia. Ung has withdrawn from law school and returned to live with his family in Arlington, Va., until his legal case is completed, McMahon said.

DiDonato, 23, son of Center City lawyer Edward DiDonato Sr. and nephew of city Republican leader Michael Meehan, is being treated at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital for paralysis of the bowels, bladder, sexual organs and left foot, said Assistant District Attorney Jan McDermott.

"This is a situation where the gun changes everything. Certainly, there was alcohol involved; both sides were drinking that night. "What years ago may have ended in a fistfight," she added, "unfortunately ended in the paralysis of a 23-year-old kid," she said.

McMahon contended that Ung - who was with two Temple University doctoral-candidate friends - was the victim of drunken bullies at 4th and Market streets.

"Four guys are drunk and they think they can bully anybody they want, say whatever they want and do whatever they want," McMahon said.
"He did not pull out any gun for a long period of time until he was rushed at by another individual," McMahon added.

Just one witness was called to testify yesterday - Seth Webster, one of DiDonato's three friends present at the shooting. After leaving an Old City bar, his group stopped at 4th and Market, where one friend started doing pull-ups on scaffolding, he said.

Ung and a female and male friend soon approached, and the female friend started doing pull-ups as well, Webster said.

Ung became upset and heated words were exchanged, Webster said.

One of the men, Tom Kelly, tried to rush Ung, but the woman with Ung stepped between them and was bumped, Webster said.

At this, Webster testified, Ung pulled his gun, pointed it at Kelly and waved it at him and DiDonato while saying, "Back the f--- up."

DiDonato said, "Who you gonna shoot?" and moved toward Ung, Webster said.

When Ung kicked at DiDonato to keep him back, DiDonato grabbed at Ung's leg, said Webster. As he fell backward, Ung began firing, according to Webster, and fired several more shots from the ground. After DiDonato had fallen, Ung appeared in shock, knelt beside the fallen man, touched his leg and called 9-1-1 on his cell phone, said Webster, who also called.
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Rarick
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2010, 05:14:20 AM »

I can see why this is going to court.   No clarity on the initial situation, and no obvious threats to life?
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G M
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 08:57:59 AM »

No matter who wins or loses, everyone lost in this case.

"Don't go stupid places and do stupid things with stupid people".

Taking a gun when you are going to be drinking is stupid. In most places, it's very illegal. If the place you are going to drink is so potentially dangerous, don't go there. OC spray and a c2 Taser are good things to have for those big grey areas between talking and deadly force, if legal where you live.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2010, 10:07:28 AM »

Is this sound legal reasoning on the part of the judge?

"Despite arguments during the preliminary hearing from defense attorney Jack McMahon that Ung, 28, acted in self-defense after being confronted by four men, Philadelphia Municipal Judge David Shuter said his ruling was based on the number of bullets fired at vital body parts."
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G M
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 10:17:33 AM »

No, it isn't. However, I doubt it's the totality of the judge's ruling.

Normally, a prelim is where the charges are formally filed and the judge rules if there is probable cause for the charges. Once the case goes to trial, the defense can try to claim self defense and bring in expert witnesses on the topic.
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Rarick
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 06:10:50 AM »

The judge is obviously clueless as to how accurate a gun is when someone is trying to shoot thru adrenaline dump.  The bullets are on the target is about all you can expect, hitting certain organs/bodyparts is strictly epic foolishness.  (unless you are a terminator, who has no adrenaline dump or human failings to get in the way)
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2010, 09:16:18 PM »

a) The judge's reasoning seems quite specious to me.

b) One might note that carrying a gun while drinking might be a real poor idea

c) Reading between the lines, does anyone infer that the girlfriend instigated things?



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2010, 06:12:39 PM »

d) And, following up on c) of my previous post, what is one to do with/about a girlfriend/date who is instigating things?
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G M
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2010, 10:37:24 PM »

If it's not worth dying over, being crippled over, going to prison over, it's not worth fighting over.

In the case of d), Be apologetic, make it very clear "We are leaving", then leave.
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Rarick
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2010, 06:41:54 AM »

d) And, following up on c) of my previous post, what is one to do with/about a girlfriend/date who is instigating things?

Let her walk home, with in reason.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2010, 10:37:46 AM »

I like that formulation and articulation GM.
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G M
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2010, 03:33:06 PM »

The important lessons from this case is to expect a very detailed investigation, if someone is seriously injured/killed. I have no doubt that investigators have lots of eyewitness statements from multiple parties present at various times that night. I expect all sorts of surveillance camera footage from that night has been obtained and a good picture of the amount of alcohol consumed has been put together from reciepts and interviews with waitstaff.

You want uninvolved witnesses telling the detectives "He said he was sorry" "He tried to leave" "He wasn't the problem".
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2010, 12:42:41 AM »

Ah yes-- witnesses.  A point I picked up from Peyton Quinn several years ago was the importance of witness preparation e.g. choosing one's words wisely so as to pre-dispose witnesses to speak in your favor; e.g. "Leave me alone!" is better than "Fcuk off!"
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