Two Maryland men have been taken into custody after they allegedly beat a North Whitehall Township man to death in mid-August. The men, ages 22 and 27, have officially been charged with second-degree assault and manslaughter, both considered violent crimes. The victim, age 37, was reportedly found unresponsive in a hotel parking lot on Aug. 24; he died later that day.
Authorities say they are still not sure exactly what began the fight, though it appears that only the three men were involved in the fray. Investigators are not certain whether alcohol played a role in the late-night confrontation. Those involved in evaluating the case say that the incident appears to have been a typical fistfight that turned deadly after the man was simply “hit in the wrong spots.”
The younger defendant apparently turned himself in shortly after the incident occurred. The older defendant was arrested at his place of business. Both of these defendants are being held in connection with the criminal charges, which also include reckless endangerment and affray, or fighting in a public place. They are scheduled to make an appearance in a Maryland district court for their initial hearing in the coming days.
Not all violent crimes are premeditated or have nefarious intent behind them. In some cases, criminal defendants face assault charges and other accusations stemming from ordinary fistfights that take a turn for the worse. Such defendants almost certainly do not expect to face homicide charges after what would likely be seen as a minor altercation in any other context. Defendants should not have to face extraordinarily harsh consequences simply because they were involved in an everyday fight, no matter the outcome.
Source: The Morning Call, “Two charged in Ocean City assault death of North Whitehall man” Manuel Gamiz Jr., Aug. 26, 2014