By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A homeless man was today ordered held for trial in the stabbing death of an East Mount Airy man, a cantor at a Roxborough synagogue.
The victim, as an act of charity, had taken in two homeless men, but one was trouble, according to authorities.
The murder victim, 54-year-old Ronald Fischman, had previously ordered William James from his house. But, investigators say, several months later James returned to the house to visit his former friend and lover, Gordon Branch, who was still living there.
But prosecutor Joseph Whitehead says Branch didn’t want James there, and was terrified.
“He didn’t want anything to do with him, actually feared for his life, jumped out of a second-floor window to get away from him. The person who was the focus of his ire was the victim, the man who owned the house. That poor soul (Fischman) just tried to calm the situation down. He was seen by the defendant as being the one in the way, interfering with his ability to see his friend, and unfortunately it cost him his life,” Whitehead tells KYW Newsradio.
A detective testified that James later confessed to the stabbing, saying he “just lost it.”
The defense did not comment after the hearing, but during the hearing asked questions suggesting the defendant has a history of mental health issues, and drug and alcohol abuse issues.