Alleged Victim Refuses to Testify in Werdesheims' Trial
"In my heart I didn't want to testify," 16-year-old Corey Ausby, a witness for the state, and the alleged victim in the state's case against two Upper Park Heights brothers, said in court Wednesday.
The 16-year-old alleged victim of a beating involving two members of a Jewish neighborhood watch group declined to testify against his alleged attackers in court.
He also said he didn't want to press charges.
"I feel in the heart I did wrong,” Corey Ausby said, frequently pausing between unfinished sentences. “At the same time I didn't mean to call the police on them (referring to the Werdesheims)," he said Wednesday after Baltimore City Circuit Judge Pamela White ordered him to testify.
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Prosecutors say Eliyahu Werdesheim, now 24, who at the time was a member of the neighborhood watch group Shomrim, and his brother, Avi Werdesheim, now 21, beat Ausby on Nov. 19, 2010.
They say the elder brother was patrolling the Upper Park Heights area for Shomrim, and his brother—who has never been a member of Shomrim—was with him in the car.
They came across the teen and allegedly told him he didn't belong there. They allegedly forced him to the ground and broke his wrist in the process.
Avi Werdesheim allegedly hit Ausby on the head with a two-way radio that belonged to Shomrim.
The brothers face charges of false imprisonment, second-degree assault and deadly weapon with intent to injure, related to the incident in Northwest Baltimore.
Andrew Alperstein and Susan Green, attorneys for the brothers, say the Werdesheims acted in self defense after Ausby wielded a stick with nails protruding from it.
Ausby's testimony Wednesday at the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse in Baltimore was difficult to hear, and difficult to get.
While being questioned by Kevin Wiggins, assistant states attorney, Ausby repeatedly responded with silence, or avoided the microphone he was instructed to use while answering. He often hung his head forward, well below his shoulders.
Ausby explained that on Nov. 19 he was walking along Fallstaff Road, heading to the bus stop after visiting his grandmother who lives in Fallstaff Manor Apartments.
He was to meet his mother and go to the doctor. He said he didn't make it to the bus stop.
When asked why he didn't make it, Ausby hung his head, occasionally sniffled, and otherwise did not respond. Wiggins repeated questions, and also gave his witness time to answer.
White ordered Ausby to respond.
Ausby stood and said, "... I didn't even want to go through the stuff I had to go through. In my heart, I didn't want to testify. I wanted to drop the charges."
White explained to Ausby that the state was responsible for filing the charges. She reminded Ausby that he was an important prosecution witness.
There are a dozen or more witnesses, as well, whose testimony is also important, she said.
When Wiggins asked Ausby if he is "saying it didn't happen," Ausbury replied only "I don't want to testify."
White, noting the "considerable difficulty" Ausby had answering questions, dismissed him.
As a result, White also dismissed a piece of evidence she had already admitted: a photo array that the state had presented to Ausby to help him identify Eliyahu Werdesheim in the alleged attack.
Also during the trial Wednesday, White admitted into evidence the Baltimore City 911 call that Ausby made minutes after the event.
The defendants' attorneys objected, saying the call didn't include the first call that mistakenly went to Baltimore County 911.
They also argued that they could no longer cross-examine Ausby about the call.
Parts of the call were difficult to hear within the courtroom.
Ausby, then 15 years old, is heard saying that "a whole bunch" of people were involved, and that "they're still right here."
Ausby told the operator that the weapon was "a Walkie Talkie used ... on my head," and that his head had stopped bleeding.
Prosecutors are scheduled to continue presenting their case on Thursday morning.