Prosecution and defense lawyers completed jury selection this afternoon in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court trial of three men charged in the 2009 beating death of a man in the parking lot of the Phillies' ballpark following a dispute that began over a spilled beer.
With the selection of the jury of four women, eight men and two male alternates, Judge Shelley Robins New said opening speeches and testimony begin Wednesday.
The three - Charles Bowers, 37, of Oxford Circle; James Groves, 48, of Kensington; and Francis Kirchner, 30, of Fishtown - in the July 25, 2009 death of David W. Sale Jr., 22, of Lansdale in Montgomery County.
All three are charged with homicide in Sales' death but the stakes are highest for Kirchner. He alone remains charged with first-degree murder and faces life in prison without parole if found guilty.
Although witnesses testified at the preliminary hearing two years ago that all three hit Sale, they said Kirchner was the one who delivered what the autopsy called the fatal blow: a kick to the head after Sales was bleeding and prone on the ground and unable to defend himself.
Bowers and Groves are charged with third-degree murder, which carries a prison term of 20 to 40 years if they are found guilty.
Witness who testified at the preliminary hearing amid allegations of intimidation described a booze-fueled beef that began early in the Phillies late afternoon game against the St. Louis Cardinals between a group that came by bus from Moe's Tavern, a Fishtown neighborhood pub, and a bachelor party that Sale was part of.
Though witnesses were sometimes contradictory, they collectively described a feud that began in Citizens Bank Park early in the game when members of the bachelor's party arrived and found some of the group from Moe's in their seats.
The dispute flared anew inside McFadden's, a sports pub attached to the stadium, when a beer was spilled and two members of the bachelor's party, including Sale, were sucker-punched and floored.
The dispute moved into the parking lot after both groups were ejected by McFadden's security, where the two sides heckled each other until a fight again broke out.
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