Testimony is scheduled to begin Wednesday in the trial of three men charged in the 2009 beating death of a man outside Citizens Bank Park after a booze-fueled beef that started in the stands, moved to a bar, and ended in a parking lot.
Prosecutors, defense lawyers, and Common Pleas Court Judge Shelley Robins New spent all day Monday picking a jury of four women, eight men, and two male alternates to hear what is expected to be a two-week trial.
The three Philadelphia men - Charles Bowers, 37, of Oxford Circle; James Groves, 48, of Kensington; and Francis Kirchner, 30, of Fishtown - are charged in the July 25, 2009, death of David W. Sale Jr., 22, of Lansdale.
All three are charged with homicide, but the stakes are highest for Kirchner. He alone is charged with first-degree murder and could face life in prison without parole if the jury finds him guilty.
Witnesses who testified at the preliminary hearing two years ago said all three hit Sale. But Kirchner, witnesses said, delivered what the autopsy called the fatal blow: a kick to the head after Sale was bleeding, 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.
Witnesses who testified at the preliminary hearing described an escalating dispute that began early during the Phillies' late-afternoon game against the St. Louis Cardinals between a group that came by bus from Moe's Tavern, a Fishtown pub, and a bachelor party that Sale had attended.
Though accounts were at times contradictory, witnesses collectively described a feud that began when members of the bachelor 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 party, including Sale, were sucker-punched and floored.
It then moved to the parking lot after both groups were ejected by McFadden's security, where the sides heckled each other until a fist fight erupted and Sale was beaten to death.