Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Two Jewish brothers accused of beating an African-American teen head back to court. The trial continues despite a shocking call to drop the charges from the victim.
Monique Griego has more on what it could mean for the case.
Eliyahu Werdesheim, 24, and his brother Avi Werdesheim, 21, return to court Monday morning after bizarre twists and turns in the case against them.
The two brothers stand accused in the November 2010 beating of then 15-year-old Corey Ausby during a neighborhood patrol with Shomrim– an orthodox Jewish watch group.
The incident sharply divided the Park Heights neighborhood where it happened.
“He was singled out because he was a black youth walking in a Jewish community,” Leon Purnell, who is watching the trial closely, said.
But during the start of the trial last week, the victim– the prosecution’s star witness– stood up out of his chair and said: “I don’t want to testify. I want all the charges to be dropped.”
“If the victim of a crime does not want the case to go forward, most typically, prosecutors drop it,” legal expert Byron Warnken said.
But Warnken points out it’s rare for a victim to change his mind their mind after a trial has already started. And he says this turn of events will likely give attorneys for the Werdesheim brothers more ammunition as they ask the judge to declare a mistrial.
“It’s seeming like the case is getting very weak for the prosecution,” he said.
But community activists are drawing comparisons to the Trayvon Martin case, and say they’re watching what happens with the Werdesheims closely.
“I think that the case is very much in motion and the general public should still know that righteousness will still prevail in this case,” Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, a spectator in the courtroom, said.
The victim’s family has filed a civil lawsuit seeking more than $500,000 from the Werdesheim family.