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
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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