BALTIMORE (WJZ)– There are dramatic twists in the trial of two brothers accused of beating an African-American teenager in Northwest Baltimore. The star witness takes the stand and refuses to testify, even asking for the charges to be dropped.
Weijia Jiang has more on what the teen said and what the judge told him.
This is a huge blow to the prosecutor who put the victim on the stand because he thought the teenager would share a harrowing story about how he was beaten. But the victim brazenly refused.
In a stunning outburst on the witness stand, 16-year-old Corey Ausby got out of chair and said: “I don’t want to testify. I want all the charges to be dropped.”
Ausby – who cried almost the entire time he was on the stand– was expected to be the star witness in this case against brothers 24-year-old Eliyahu and 21-year-old Avi Werdesheim. They’re accused of beating the then 15-year-old Ausby in November 2010 during a call for Shomrim, an orthodox Jewish watch group.
Many believe the alleged attack was racially motivated and have even compared it to what happened to Trayvon Martin in Florida.
“He was singled out because he was a black dude walking in a Jewish community,” one Baltimore resident said.
Documents from the investigation reveal Ausby said the brothers pushed him to the ground, pinned him down and beat him with a walkie-talkie. But on Wednesday, Ausby refused to answer questions from the prosecutor and had his head in his lap.
At one point, Ausby’s grandfather was thrown out of court because he was making signals to Ausby to speak up.
“It is important to preserve the reliability of the testimony that people not give signals to witnesses or communicate with them during the testimony,” Andrew Alperstein , the Werdesheims’ attorney, said.
Ausby maintains he was beaten but doesn’t want to talk about it despite the judge’s order to testify.
The teen explained: “The whole time I didn’t want to go through this stuff. I felt lots of pressure with the whole situation. In my heart, I didn’t want to testify. I shouldn’t have even called police.”
Still, the Werdesheims face multiple charges including assault. It’s unclear at this point what is going to happen to Ausby. The judge stopped short of holding him in contempt but said there would be consequences for his refusal.
Prosecutors are expected to call several more witnesses this week. It’s unclear if the Werdesheims will testify.