Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Philadelphia Phillies Fan Murder, did David Sale Ask for It?

The trial for the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies fan murder has finally started. And already the defendants are blaming the victim, David Sale, for his own death.

In July 2009, the Phillies were playing the St. Louis Cardinals and two groups of drunken fans attended the game -- a group bused in from Moe's Tavern, a Fishtown Pub, and a bachelor party, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer. Trouble started pretty quickly, in the second inning, when some members of the Moe's Tavern group sat in the seats of the bachelor party group and a mini-fracas erupted.

A couple of Moe's Tavern people were kicked out of the game and they subsequently moved to McFadden's, a pub attached to the ballpark, reports the Inquirer. During the sixth inning, bachelor party members also wound up at McFadden's, including David Sale, and again the two groups clashed.

Inside the bar, it's alleged that Sale provoked some of the Moe's Tavern group by spilling a drink on a woman's head and generally acting like a drunken idiot, reports the Inquirer.

Both groups were kicked out, and after some choice words in the parking lot, the two groups rumbled. In the fight, Francis Kirchner, James Groves, and Charles Bowers were alleged to have beaten Sale to death. However, they say that Sale provoked the attack with his drunken antics.

If you actually kill someone, there are very few defenses to a murder charge. In extreme situations, where you fear for your own safety, you can argue self-defense. But this defense only comes into play if you reasonably fear extreme harm.

On the other hand, being provoked by a drunken idiot or having beer poured on one's head is never, by itself, an excuse to take a life.

Francis Kirchner, James Groves, and Charles Bowers have been charged in the Philadelphia Phillies fan murder. And no, David Sale's own stupid conduct does not justify his death.

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