Testimony continues

Published 7:33 am Thursday, August 31, 2006

By By NORMA LERNER / Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – Testimony continued Wednesday in the second day of a trial in Cass County Circuit Court for 18-year-old Jeremy Joseph of Cassopolis.
Joseph is accused of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to do great bodily harm less than murder, felonious assault and three counts of felony firearms.
The charges against Joseph stem from a violent fight at Dr. T. K. Lawless Park on Dec. 12 apparently over a teenage girl.
Charged with 46 counts of weapons and assault offenses along with Joseph were Aaron Whitman and Allen Hatton, both of Vandalia, who already have been sentenced to prison.
Testifying Wednesday was Derek Fetters, 19, who works in construction in Edwardsburg.
Fetters received a call from a female friend to tell him that Allan Hatton wanted to fight him. He went into Legends Sports Bar in Edwardsburg to seek support from four construction workers he knew to go out to Lawless Park, where the fight was to take place.
Fetters had not been drinking, but the four construction workers were eating and drinking beer at the time and left after awhile to go with Fetters to watch the fight.
Fetters said the five men, himself, Mike Whitacre, Ricky Armstrong, John Slone and Andrew Skibowski, drove to the park in Whitacre's Ford Bronco about 10:30 p.m.
After waiting a short time, a red Dodge Neon drove up to the park.
The two cars faced each other.
Armstrong was first to get out of the car to go over to the Neon. He was ambushed and hit in the head with an aluminum baseball bat.
Slone got out of the Bronco to help Armstrong and was wielding a jack handle to get the assailant off of Armstrong when he, too, was hit in the face with an instrument.
Both men were seriously injured, with Slone being knocked down and pushed under the Neon. Someone dragged him out from under the Neon, but he was knocked unconscious and was not able to get back into the Bronco with his friends as they left. They yelled Slone was missing, but fled in fear for their lives after being shot at with shotguns.
Slone testified he was left alone. After regaining consciousness, he started to walk down Monkey Run Street and through a field, freezing from wearing lightweight clothing.
He hid in a snow bank while fearing he would be shot.
Later, police saw Slone in the field, called to him and summoned an ambulance.