Reporting Steve Tawa
Filed underCrime and Justice, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Syndicated Sports, Watch + Listen
By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Three men who pleaded guilty to beating a Phillies fan to death outside Citizens Bank Park in 2009 have been sentenced. The altercation followed spilled drinks in a crowded bar, and there were running alcohol-fueled brawls that ended in the parking lot.
After a mistrial was declared in September, the following month, all of the defendants pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
During a day-long hearing, more than 35 people gave impact statements on behalf of the victim, 22-year-old David Sale of Lansdale.
“He was a warm and good spirit and was loved by everyone he touched,” said prosecutor Richard Sax.
Each of the defendants received different sentences, based on culpability. Judge Shelley Robins New sentenced Francis Kirchner to 9-18 years, for meting out what could have been the fatal kick to the victim’s head. Charles Bowers received 5-10 and James Groves got 2-4 years.
The victim’s grandfather, Harry Lombardo, wanted tougher sentences because originally Kirchner was charged with first degree murder and Bowers and Groves were facing third degree murder charges, “because a human life should be sacred.”
All of the defendants turned separately to apologize to Sale’s family.
“I was just in Iraq six days ago, getting shot at,” said Jennifer Alvarez, the victim’s sister, and an Army specialist in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. “And they’re sitting there telling me they’re sorry for killing my little brother. They’re just words to me.”