The teenager who authorities said was beaten in a neighborhood watch case in Baltimore that drew comparisons with the Trayvon Martin shooting refused to testify from the witness stand on Wednesday, prompting the judge ultimately to excuse him.
It’s not yet clear how the loss of the key witness will affect the prosecution’s case.
Brothers Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim, who are Jewish and white, are accused of beating the black teen while patrolling for an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood watch group on Nov. 19, 2010. Their bench trial opened Wednesday on charges of second-degree assault, false imprisonment and carrying a deadly weapon.
The victim, now 16, cried as he mumbled responses to some of Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Wiggins’ questions. The teen testified he was walking to the bus stop from his grandmother’s home to go to a doctor’s appointment that day.
He said he didn’t make the appointment because two men in a red car approached him, looked at him the wrong way and told him he was not supposed to be there. At times, the teen did not answer and would bend over to put his head in his lap.
WBFF-TV showed video of the teen being carried back into the courthouse after the lunch break. In the afternoon, his responses were even less audible and eventually he stood up while attorneys approached Judge Pamela White’s bench for a conference.
“I don’t want to testify,” he said. “I want to drop charges.”
White explained that the state brought the charges and it was not his decision to drop them.
Wiggins asked the teen if the reason he didn’t want to testify was because he lied or that the incident didn’t happen. The teen said he just didn’t want to testify. After talking the situation over with the teen, the judge excused him.
The defense objected to the playing of a recording of the teen’s 911 call after the teen was excused because the defendants would be unable to confront their accuser. The judge denied that motion and listened to the call, in which the teen tells the operator he had been cracked on the head with a walkie-talkie and was bleeding.
The teen was taken to a hospital with a cut on the back of his head and a broken wrist, according to court documents.
A day earlier, the brothers withdrew a motion to move the trial because comparisons to the Martin case would make it hard for them to get a fair trial. They opted for a bench trial, saying they believed a judge could conduct a fair trial.
In the Florida case, authorities charged neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman this month with second-degree murder in Martin’s death Feb. 26. Zimmerman claims self-defense, but Martin’s family claims he targeted the unarmed teen mainly because the teen was black. Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother Hispanic.
In opening statements Wednesday, Wiggins told the judge that after two men in the car stared at him and told him he didn’t belong there, the teen, then 15, armed himself with a board as the car left.
When the car returned, Wiggins said the teen dropped the board before Eliyahu Werdesheim grabbed him and Avi Werdesheim hit him in the head with a radio. As the teen reached in his pocket for his cell phone, Wiggins said a third person, who arrived in a van, stepped on his hand. Other members of the watch group, Shomrim of Baltimore, showed up and the brothers left
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31