BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Vacation or a flight from justice? That was the question before a Baltimore judge about the suspect in an alleged attack on a black teenager during a Jewish community patrol in Park Heights.
Alex DeMetrick reports Eliyahu Werdesheim,23 was arrested and released, but headed back to court Monday after police learned he had plans to leave the country.
Werdesheim was released on bail in November. A planned trip to Israel Monday night brought him back to court because authorities thought he may be a potential flight risk.
Werdesheim faces charges of first-degree assault after a 15-year-old African-American teen claimed he was assaulted in November in Park Heights. The Jewish patrol group Shomrim encountered the youth. Police arrested Werdesheim for assault, saying the teen’s wrist was broken.
Werdesheim claimed it was self-defense and now he is free on bail.
Werdesheim was back in district court Monday after police learned that he was traveling to Israel Monday night and he may be a flight risk.
“We were able to show them that the trip was planned well before this incident. It’s an ordinary vacation. He will be back. And a lot of people showed support for him,” said Andrew Alperstein, Werdesheim’s lawyer.
His lawyer convinced the judge that the trip was a long-planned vacation. The trip is a two-week trip that he planned to make with his fiancee. The two have long ties to Baltimore.
The teen’s lawyer was also convinced it was not a plan to flee justice.
“Well, not any more. Initially, I was very much concerned. I was always under the impression he had some citizenship in Israel. I had heard that during my own personal investigation. I thought this was good, because we got to found out exactly what was on Eliyahu’s mind when he bought this ticket and if indeed he was coming back,” said J.Wyndal Gordon, teen’s lawyer.
The judge ordered Eliyahu Werdesheim to give his lawyer his passport when he returns from Israel and notify the court of any future trips. Werdesheim’s parents have pledged to secure his $50,000 bail if he does not return.
Werdesheim was born in the United States, but he holds an Israel citizenship after he served two years in the Israel Armed Forces.