Rarely do we opine on ongoing court cases, but the strange circumstances surrounding last month’s death of a Pennsylvania man allegedly at the hands of two local residents begs for an exception. This case appears to be a classic “he said, he said” and when it comes time for the case to be adjudicated determining what exactly happened could be tricky for a judge or jury.
Surveillance video of the inside of the sub shop, where all the parties involved were last seen together obtained this week, offers largely speculative fodder. We reviewed the video this week, and there’s nothing terribly conclusive for either side in the case.
What’s clear is one of the suspects almost gets into an altercation with another individual after speaking at length with a woman and that person seated at a table inside Fat Daddy’s Sub Shop on Baltimore Avenue. Later video shows prime suspect Caleb Ochse lift up a friend in a playful fashion with several glances at his phone. The decedent, who died due to head and neck trauma according to the medical examiner’s report, is shown in the video with three other individuals as well. He appears to be glaring in Ochse’s direction while inside the sub shop. Once Ochse, the other suspect and an unidentified woman leave the sub shop, the decedent and his friends immediately hop up from their booth and follow them out. That’s essentially it as far as the video is concerned.
The recent manslaughter conviction of George Nottingham in the death of a friend outside Ocean City bar in early 2013 and the subsequent sentence of seven years in prison shows the heft of the charge Ochse and Blake Kendall are facing with manslaughter.
Someone died and culpability is necessary for his family and friends, but the truth could be cloudy on this one. There are many questions to be answered.
In most cases, there are two sides to every story. Sometimes it stretches to three with the truth being in the middle of the opposing arguments. In this specific case, three are probably four sides — the decedent and his group will likely maintain something altogether different than what the suspects’ representation alleges. The truth will probably be in the middle somewhere with both guilty of misrepresenting certain aspects.
The final piece will be witness accounts, such as the woman who in the video appears to have her attention grabbed by something the decedent and his group were discussing in a neighboring booth. So much so to the point she turns around in her seat in the booth, which is directly against the decedent and his group.
As if that’s not enough intrigue, there are the political allegations offered this week by the suspect’s family in a statement this week. A new development in the case this week was the confirmation that the defense team will be growing by one — Michael Fowler, a defense attorney vowing to unseat current top prosecutor Beau Oglesby from his State’s Attorney’s seat after one term.
The statement takes some shots at Oglesby, arguing political motivations have led to the prosecution of the two individuals. Oglesby’s office did not take the bait this week and refused to argue the case in the media the way the defense has thus far.
It’s early, but it’s certainly safe to assume more intrigue will be coming in the coming weeks and months. At this point, there are more questions than answers. That’s typical with these sorts of cases, but so far that’s the only thing that has been expected with this unfortunate situation.