A West Philadelphia man was ordered held for trial today on riot, assault, theft and other charges for allegedly participating in the May 30 "flash mob" on South Broad Street that left one man seriously injured and a local convenience store looted of thousands in merchandise.
Stephen Lyde, 21, was ordered held for trial by Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Bradley K. Moss in the late-night rampage by more than 100 teens and young adults on South Broad between South and Bainbridge Streets.
According to testimony during this morning's preliminary hearing, the mob converged on South Broad after apparently being summoned by text messages and online social messaging sites.
Once there, the group blocked traffic, pounded on cars, stole merchandize and assaulted several people.
The most seriously injured victim was the subject of today's hearing. Thomas Fitzgerald, 53, was riding his bike home from his night shift job when he was hit from behind, thrown over the hood of a car, struck several times and then began having seizures.
One witness identified Lyde as being one of five to seven men who stood around Fitzgerald while he had a seizure on the hood of the car.
"He said, 'Yo, look at his head,'" testified Erin Houdeshell, referring to Lyde watching Fitzgerald's head twitch and bounce on the car's hood. "He seemed kind of entertained by the situation."
Houdeshell, who said she was a few feet from the victim, seated in her car that was stopped by the mob, testified that she did not see Lyde strike Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald testified that he has no memory of the event except for being stopped by the mob and hit in the back of his head.
Fitzgerald said he was in an induced coma for a week and later spent four weeks in rehabilatory therapy. In addition to memory and hearing loss, Fitzgerald testified, he is now on disability because of the seizures he now experiences.