Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shomrim case going forward in Baltimore 

Lawyers for two Baltimore Jewish brothers accused of beating a black
teenager withdrew a request to move the trial out of the city and
requested a bench trial.

The trial of Avi and Eliyahu Werdesheim will begin Wednesday morning
in Baltimore Circuit Court before Judge Pamela White with no jury.
Defense attorneys had requested a change of venue because of perceived
similarities between the case and the death of Trayvon Martin in

The brothers, who are accused of beating a 15-year-old male in
November 2010, have pleaded not guilty to the charges of second-degree
assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon They face up to 13 years in prison if convicted on all three counts.

Eliyahu Werdesheim, now 24, was a member of Shomrim, a Jewish
neighborhood watch group, at the time of the incident. According to a
police account, Eliyahu Werdesheim told the black teen, "You don't
belong around here," while his brother, now 21, threw the boy to the
ground, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Lawyers for the Werdesheims claimed Monday that their clients should
be tried elsewhere because black community leaders in Baltimore have
linked the case with the death of Martin, a black teen from Florida who
was shot by a neighborhood watch patrolman named George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman is being tried for second-degree murder, and the case has
received widespread national attention.

"Both involve young African-American males walking along on public
thoroughfares who supposedly were accosted by one or more Caucasian
members of citizen patrol groups who felt they didn't belong in the
area, and allegedly subjected to unprovoked attacks," the defense
lawyers' motion said, according to the newspaper.

The motion added that the Werdesheims' case has "ignited a firestorm
of controversy, recriminations and protests in the greater Baltimore
metropolitan region and has served to polarize various segments of the

Prosecutors in the Werdesheims' trial had said it should go forward because the two incidents are separate. 


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