Posted on Wed, Jan. 12, 2011
Penalty decision in double murder now goes to Phila. jury
By Joseph A. Slobodzian
Inquirer Staff Writer
A Common Pleas Court jury was to begin deliberations Wednesday about whether two Tacony men should be executed or spend life in prison without parole in a 2007 racially tinged double murder.
The families of Gerald Drummond and Robert McDowell and victims Damien Holloway and Timmy Clark spent an emotional afternoon Tuesday listening to closing arguments from prosecution and defense lawyers.
On Dec. 20, the jury found McDowell, 28, and Drummond, 26, guilty of first-degree murder in the July 13, 2007, shootings of Holloway, 27, and Clark, 15, each shot in the head execution-style in the 6900 block of Vandike Street.
Trial witnesses said Drummond - the convicted triggerman - had a grudge against Holloway because of race (Drummond and McDowell are white; Holloway was black) and because Holloway was separated from Drummond's sister, with whom he had a disabled child. Clark, who was white, was killed because he was there, witnesses testified.
"They're superpredators," Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega told the jury in asking it to sentence both to death by lethal injection. "They look out at the street and they don't see people. They see sheep, because they're the wolves."
Vega described both men as "hard, cold, cruel" because of the way they accosted and executed two neighborhood residents they knew well, including a teenage boy they considered a "loose end."
Clark's mother, Bette, wept quietly as Vega described how frightened Timmy must have been in the moments before he was killed.
"That little boy," Vega said, then told the jury that neither Drummond nor McDowell deserved the mercy of a life sentence: "You are the ones who are going to give them justice."
Both defense attorneys focused on testimony about the deprived and depraved childhoods of the pair in households where poverty, physical abuse, criminal conduct, and illegal drug use were the norms.
"He's damaged goods," said Drummond's attorney, William L. Bowe. "The question is not whether he's damaged goods. The question is whether he should die for it."
McDowell's attorney, Gary Server, stressed that according to witnesses, McDowell could not follow Drummond's order to shoot the kneeling victims. When he balked, Drummond took the gun and shot both.
Neither Drummond nor McDowell testified in his defense. There was no gun recovered and no blood or DNA linking the pair to the shootings. Instead, the prosecution relied on girlfriends and associates of the men, who testified about how they described the shooting in detail.
Despite the relationships among the witnesses and the two men, defense attorneys argued that the witnesses were drug addicts and petty criminals trying to curry favor with the prosecutor.
Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
They won't know what its like to be "damaged" goods until they meet "Bubba" at the big house....Then I wonder how bad the "OG's" will be....OGM...Odor Gagging Maggots is what they are...Sorry but I can't help how they minimize their acts and then want everyone to feel sorry for every last thing they claimed happened in their life. They can spew any crap out of their mouth they want to that jury about how bad they had it for sympathy...but the fact will always remain, They killed a little boy, a child, and they will be held accountable for that action on every level!!!