David Sale: Defense calls victim ‘drunken, obnoxious’

Jurors heard opening arguments yesterday in the trial of three men accused in the beating death of a 22-year-old Lansdale man after a Phillies game in July 2009.

Charles Bowers and James Groves are charged with third-degree murder and conspiracy, while Francis Kirchner is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly delivering the fatal blow – a kick to the head of David Sale.

The prosecution claims the three defendants attended the game with a group of about 60 people from Moe’s Tavern in Fishtown and got into numerous alcohol-fueled confrontations with Sale and his friends who were part of a small bachelor party and had also been drinking. The third and final melee happened in Parking Lot M outside Jetro’s food warehouse.

“[They] beat him to death three on one for an extended period of time, long enough to visit many horrific and life-threatening injuries to David Sale,” Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax said. “He was held by two and beaten by a third. Held by two and kicked and stomped by a third.”

After the donnybrook was over and Sale tried to get up, Kirchner allegedly got a running start and “punted his head” like a football on a tee, Sax said.

Each of the defense attorneys admit their clients were involved in the parking lot brawling, but that none of them delivered that final vicious kick. They also claim Sale helped stoke the vitriol.

“David Sale was a drunken, arrogant, obnoxious human being on that day. Did he deserve to die? No,” said Kirchner’s attorney, Jack McMahon.

Mystery killer?

Bowers’ attorney Brian McMonagle disputed the
notion of the three men jumping on Sale, but said his client briefly
engaged Sale and then began fighting Sale’s best friend. “While he was
in that other fight, another individual ended the life of Mr. Sale,”
McMonagle said.

The medical examiner testified that Sale died of
multiple blunt force injuries and suffered internal bleeding, bruising
to the head and a torn vertebral artery, among other injuries. Several
eyewitnesses are expected to take the stand today.

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