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  1. #1
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    Jury Deadlocked, Gerald Drummond and Robert McDowell Sentenced to LWOP in 2007 PA Double Murder

    Closing arguments set in NE Philly double murder

    Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday in the trial of two men charged with killing a man and a teenager in northeastern Philadelphia 3 1/2 years ago.

    Defense attorneys rested their case Wednesday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in the trial of 26-year-old Gerald Drummond and 28-year-old Robert McDowell. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against them in the July 2007 deaths of 27-year-old Damien Holloway and 15-year-old Timothy Clark.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer says prosecution witnesses testified that Drummond said he killed Holloway for disrespecting his sister, with whom the victim had a child, and killed the youth because he was "a loose end."

    Drummond's attorney, Michael Wallace, said his client was home with his family at the time. McDowell's attorney, Gary Server, said another man was seen running from the area and still another man was angry at Holloway.


    Read more: http://www.centredaily.com/2010/12/1...#ixzz18ExJdhgI

  2. #2
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    2 convicted in 2007 Philadelphia double slaying

    Two men charged with killing a man and a teenager in Northeast Philadelphia 3 1/2 years ago could face the death penalty after being convicted of first-degree murder.

    A jury returned the guilty verdicts Monday against 26-year-old Gerald Drummond and 28-year-old Robert McDowell. Prosecutors say they killed 27-year-old Damien Holloway and 15-year-old Timothy Clark in July 2007.

    Investigators say Drummond and McDowell killed Holloway because he disrespected Drummond's sister, who was also the mother of Holloway's child. They say Clark was killed because Drummond said he was "a loose end."

    Drummond's attorney said his client was home with his family at the time. McDowell's attorney said another man was seen running from the area and still another man was angry at Holloway.

    Sentencing is scheduled for January.


    Read more: http://www.centredaily.com/2010/12/2...#ixzz18gdEzOkd

  3. #3
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    Killers reject lesser sentence, could face death

    A Philadelphia jury yesterday began considering testimony in the penalty hearing of two Northeast Philadelphia men who face possible death sentences after being convicted in December of murdering a man and a teenager.

    But before the hearing for Gerald Drummond, 26, and Robert McDowell, 28, got under way in Common Pleas Court, the judge gave both a chance to take the death penalty off the table.

    Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes told the defendants that if they gave up their appellate rights, Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega would recommend a sentence of life in prison without parole.

    Considering that one of the victims was a "baby," Hughes said, it would be in their best interest to seriously consider the offer.

    But McDowell told Hughes that he would keep his appeal rights and go on with the hearing. Drummond, who testimony and trial witnesses indicated was the triggerman in the July 13, 2007, murders of Damien Holloway, 27, and Timothy Clark, 15, took time to weigh the offer.

    He removed his suit coat as he stood before Hughes, then asked if he could speak with family members. Hughes called a recess so that Drummond's wife, Tara; mother, Shirley, and brother, David, could confer with the defendant in a booth outside the courtroom.

    Drummond ultimately also decided to keep his appellate rights and to proceed with the hearing.

    Although neither Drummond nor McDowell testified, their attorneys argued during the trial that neither man was guilty and, in fact, not even present when the victims were gunned down execution-style on Vandike Street near Longshore Avenue.

    The defendants' family members were just as adamant about the pair's innocence while talking with reporters.

    "I told him, if you know you did it, take the life sentence. But if you are innocent, you need to fight to the end, and I'll be with you," David Drummond said he told his brother.

    Prosecutor Vega told the jury that both were there and that McDowell brought the gun but lacked the heart to shoot. So he handed the weapon to Drummond, who ordered the victims to their knees before opening fire, Vega said.

    Holloway had been dating Drummond's sister, and Drummond did not like how the victim had been treating her, Vega told the jury. Drummond shot Clark because he happened to be with Holloway at the time, Vega argued.

    Clark's mother, Bette Ann, was the first to take the witness stand during the penalty hearing. Her recollections of Timothy's love for family, football, Xbox games and playing on the family's trampoline brought many, including Vega, to tears.

    "He was a good kid, he really was," Clark said in the hallway. "He was a homebody. He didn't like to be in the streets. His friends would come over to the house."

    She said that her son's birthday - New Year's Eve - was particularly hard to handle this year.

    "It's been very heartbreaking," Clark said. "There's a piece of us missing. He was the baby brother. His two older brothers miss him.

    "He had the prettiest blue eyes. I miss his eyes."

    The hearing was to resume this morning.


    Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/loca...#ixzz1AA2smdh1
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  4. #4
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    Convicted killer to decide whether to testify at his death-penalty hearing

    By midmorning Friday, Gerald Drummond must make what could be a life-changing decision: Should he take the stand and ask a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury to spare him from lethal injection?

    He could try to explain himself, to beg for mercy from jurors who in December found him guilty of first-degree murder in a 2007 double killing in Tacony.

    But if he does, Drummond must submit to cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega - a veteran prosecutor known for subtle but rigorous questioning - without losing his temper, appearing deceptive, or blurting out something that could seal his fate.

    Or Drummond could remain silent, as he has throughout the trial, and hope that expert witnesses who testified about his horrific childhood already have convinced the jury that he deserves to live - even if behind bars for life, with no chance of parole.

    "Do you want me to colloquy him now or does he need to sleep on it?" Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes asked defense attorneys William L. Bowe and Michael E. Wallace.

    "Sleep on it," replied both lawyers, almost simultaneously, before they moved to a prisoner conference booth to meet with their 26-year-old client.

    When court reconvenes, the judge will ask Drummond what he wants to do. If he declines to testify, his part of the death-penalty hearing, by then in its third day, will be over.

    Jurors will hear the case for mercy from Robert McDowell, 28, found guilty with Drummond in the racially tinged shootings of Damien Holloway, 27, and Timmy Clark, 15, on July 13, 2007.

    Prosecution witnesses said Drummond 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 child.

    The pair spotted Holloway and Clark about 2:20 a.m. as they walked in the 6900 block of Vandike Street to Clark's home from a convenience store. Clark, who was white, worked in Holloway's lawn-cutting business, and Holloway was living with Clark's family.

    The prosecution said Drummond ordered Holloway and Clark to kneel, hands behind their heads, and told McDowell to shoot them. When McDowell balked, Drummond grabbed the revolver and shot each in the head.

    A gun was never found, and no blood or DNA linked Drummond or McDowell to the killings. Instead, the prosecution relied on friends and associates of the Tacony men who said both described the shootings in detail.

    Neither man testified, instead letting their lawyers attack the credibility of prosecution witnesses, most of them drug addicts and petty criminals.

    McDowell has stuck with his defense's claim that he had nothing to do with the killings. He rejected Vega's last-minute offer Tuesday to abandon the death penalty if he waived his appeal rights.

    Drummond, however, wavered, asking for additional time to talk with his lawyers, mother, and brother.

    Earlier Thursday, Drummond's attorneys called one witness in an attempt to defuse the race issue. Prosecution witnesses said Drummond used a racial epithet in describing how he killed Holloway and then shot Clark because he was a witness.

    Frank Bempong-Kwako, a black man who was a Tacony street vendor, testified about meeting Drummond when he was 9 and said that the boy and his older brother asked him to hire them.

    Bempong-Kwako said he was impressed with both boys and hired them on their promise to stay in school.

    He also said he met the boy's mother, Shirley Drummond, and described her as "a good mother. That was my first impression."

    That description was poles apart from the self-described abusive, mentally ill, drug-addicted mother - now sober and a minister - who testified Wednesday.

    Kirk Heilbrun, a forensic psychologist and Drexel professor hired by Drummond's attorneys, testified that the domestic violence and open drug use that Drummond experienced as a boy stunted his maturity and understanding of social norms, and ingrained violence in his personality.

    "You learn," he said, "that's the way the world works."
    //www.philly.com/inquirer/local/20110107_Convicted_killer_to_decide_whether_to_tes tify_at_his_death-penalty_hearing.html#ixzz1ALnTVFpe

  5. #5
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    Spare convicted murderer's life, mother and brother urge Philadelphia jury

    Robert McDowell's mother and younger brother took the stand Monday in a last attempt to persuade a Common Pleas Court jury not to sentence him to death for his role in a racially tinged 2007 double murder in Tacony.

    "Are you asking this jury to spare his life?" defense attorney Gary Server asked Theresa Merlo.

    "Yes," Merlo struggled to reply. "I am."

    She was the final defense witness on the fifth day of the penalty hearing for McDowell, 28, and Gerald Drummond, 26.

    The jury found both Tacony men guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Damien Holloway, 27, and Timmy Clark, 15, each shot in the head execution-style in the 6900 block of Vandike Street on July 13, 2007.

    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 had separated from Drummond's sister, with whom he had a disabled child. Clark, who was white, was killed because he was there, witnesses testified.

    The jury is to return to the Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday to hear closing arguments by Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega; Drummond's lawyer, William L. Bowe; and Server.

    Late Tuesday or Wednesday, the jury will be instructed by Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes on the state's death-penalty law and begin deciding between execution by lethal injection or life in prison without parole for the men.

    Merlo remarried after divorcing McDowell's father, Robert Sr, now deceased. She spent almost 50 minutes recounting her often-violent life with McDowell Sr. and Thomas Merlo. Both men, she said, beat her and abused her children - three with McDowell, two with Merlo.

    She said her domestic problems caused her to become so withdrawn that she often neglected her children and turned a blind eye as they became truants, got in trouble with the law, and turned to illegal drugs.

    "I enabled him," Merlo said of Robert Jr.'s growing heroin addiction. "I enabled him until I couldn't take it no more."

    Merlo said she turned Robert Jr. out of the house several times, beginning when he was 13.

    Despite her son's increasingly troubled life, Merlo acknowledged she never sought counseling or mental-health treatment for him. She said she also never told authorities about the abuse she and her children experienced.

    "Why not?" Server asked her several times.

    Each time, Merlo replied with a sigh, "I don't know."

    Both she and her younger son, Michael McDowell, 26, described Robert Jr. as a caring person who loved his two children and who showed his family none of the violence cited by the prosecutor.

    Mother and son also testified that they had nothing against the two victims and said both had good reputations in the neighborhood.

    According to prosecution witnesses, the twin shootings occurred about 2:20 a.m. when Drummond and McDowell accosted Holloway and Clark as they walked to Clark's home from a convenience store. Clark worked in Holloway's lawn-cutting business, and Holloway was living with Clark's family.

    The prosecution said Drummond ordered Holloway and Clark to kneel, hands behind their heads, and told McDowell to shoot them. When McDowell said he could not do it, Drummond took the revolver and shot each in the head.

    A gun was never found, and no blood evidence or DNA incriminated the men. Instead, the prosecution brought in friends and associates who said the pair had described the shootings in detail

    Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local...#ixzz1Aj2931SP

  6. #6
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    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.

    Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local...#ixzz1ApKpyNb2
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  7. #7
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    Jury deadlocks; 2 killers' lives are spared

    A Philadelphia jury's inability to reach unanimous decisions yesterday during the sentencing hearing of two convicted first-degree murderers resulted in automatic life sentences without parole for both.

    At the end of the first day of deliberating on whether Gerald Drummond, 26, and Robert McDowell, 28, should get life sentences or the death penalty for murdering a man and a teenage boy in July 2007, the jury reported itself deadlocked to Common Pleas Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes.

    Hughes had no choice but to impose a life sentence on each of the defendants. The same jury convicted them on Dec. 20 of two counts of first-degree murder and related counts.

    Witness testimony during the monthlong trial fingered Drummond and McDowell as the murderers of Damien Holloway, 27, and Timothy Clark, 15. The defendants forced the victims, who were friends, to kneel on a Tacony street and shot them execution style on July 13, 2007.

    Bad blood led Drummond to want to kill Holloway, who had dated Drummond's sister and had fathered her child. Clark was killed because he was there, the witnesses said.

    The gun belonged to McDowell, but he did not have the heart to use it, the witnesses said, so he gave it to Drummond, who did not hesitate to open fire.

    The murder weapon was never found, both defendants denied being involved and no DNA linked them to the murders, but both men bragged around their Tacony neighborhood about having killed the victims, trial testimony revealed.

    During the sentencing hearing, which began Jan. 4, the defense attorneys argued that the lives of Drummond and McDowell should be spared because both had suffered childhoods shattered by abuse and dysfunction.

    Read more: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/loca...#ixzz1B0v55rPK
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