SNOW HILL – One of three suspects charged in the beating death of a Berlin teen in May had the charges against him dropped in District Court in Snow Hill last Thursday and it appears unlikely he will be indicted in the case.
Eric Ronald Hewitt, 19, of Ocean City, one of three men charged in connection with the beating death of Michael Harry Mitchell and an assault on another man, Daniel Edward Riley, on May 29 in the Decatur Farm community in Berlin, appeared in District Court last Thursday and had the charges against him “nolle prossed,” or dropped. Hewitt had been charged with two counts of second-degree assault for his part in the attack, while his two co-defendants face first-degree murder charges.
It remains uncertain just why the charges against Hewitt were dropped last week, although his role in the May 29 attack has not been clear from the beginning. The fatal beating occurred on May 29 when a group of individuals including Mitchell and Riley were sitting on a porch at a residence on President Circle in the Decatur Farm community in Berlin when a 1990 Oldsmobile sedan carrying another group drove up and asked them if there was a party going on.
When told there was not, the group in the car got out and approached the men on the porch and the conversation turned from questioning to a verbal altercation, which soon became physical, according to police reports, and at some point, the driver of the Oldsmobile, identified as Fernando Angelo Musiani, 19, of Berlin, popped the trunk of his car to allow one of the other combatants, identified as Dominic Richard Canale, 22, of Ocean City, to get out a baseball bat. Canale allegedly began swinging the bat wildly at the other group, striking Riley and knocking him to the ground.
When Mitchell came to the aid of Riley, he was allegedly struck by Canale in the right temple area, which knocked him to the ground unconscious and bleeding profusely from the head, according to police reports. Musiani, Canale and another suspect, identified Hewitt, got back in the car and sped off. Mitchell was later pronounced dead from his injuries at AGH.
While it appears Hewitt is now off the hook for his role in the Berlin homicide, he still faces trouble in an unrelated case. Hewitt was charged with first-, third- and fourth degree burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property for his role in the break-in of a north-end Ocean City residence last May. He is scheduled to appear in Circuit Court to face those charges next Tuesday.