By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The defense attorney for a Philadelphia man says the man’s late father is to blame for the death of a pedestrian in Northeast Philadelphia in April 2010.
Today, a Philadelphia jury heard opening statements in the murder case against 23-year-old Gerard Shaffer.
Mark Wallace, 54, died during what has been characterized by investigators as a road-rage confrontation. He was crossing the street in the path of a car being driven by Gerard Shaffer Sr.
Shaffer’s son, now on trial for third-degree murder, was also in the car.
According to authorities, words were exchanged. Gerry senior allegedly got out of the car, confronted Wallace, and fought with him.
Then, prosecutor Peter Lim says, the younger Shaffer jumped in and threw Wallace to the ground, causing him to hit his head. He later died from head trauma.
Both father and son, who had fled the scene, were charged, but the father later died of a heart attack.
Now, the defense says “Little Gerry,” as he was known, was actually acting as peacemaker at the time — trying to stop his bullying, aggressive, violent father, and trying to prevent this terrible, horrible thing that happened.