News in brief: 3.15 Issue


The trial for football players Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick was pushed back to Aug. 22 in a scheduled court appearance yesterday.

Both players were charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in a Jan. 18, 2015 barroom altercation at Club 1800 in Northern Liberties.

James Funt, representing Dawkins, told common pleas Judge Charles A. Ehrlich the other defense attorney—Glenn Gilman,  who represents Reddick—was unavailable yesterday. Funt later told The Temple News it was for personal reasons.

“[Scheduling for] a lot of trials is like herding cats,” Funt said, but added the five-month delay should not have an effect on the trial.

Cameron Kline, spokesman and communications director for the Office of the District Attorney, said scheduling depends on availability of the judge and the defense and district attorneys.

“Each case is individual,” Kline said. “And as anxious as we are to get these done, some cases are faster than others.”

Earlier this month, Gilman said self-defense will be a “major issue” with helping Dawkins’ and Reddick’s case. Funt said the two football players were “peacemakers” in the altercation.

Both lawyers have also told The Temple News that eyewitness credibility was another important argument in the case.

“The challenge is overcoming the bias that people have about football players,” Funt said, adding people often get the impression football players are “naturally violent.”

“We have character witnesses that will prove these men are honest, law abiding citizens,” he said.

Funt said his goal is to get Dawkins and Reddick exonerated of all charges and later file to expunge their records, meaning they would not even have a record of arrest.

“We have to talk to 12 strangers and get them to see the heart and soul of these men,” Funt said, maintaining that Dawkins and Reddick did nothing wrong.

“They were simply present.”

-Julie Christie


A homicide case involving Brandon Meade—the 29-year-old from Upper Darby who is charged with the murder of 21-year-old finance student Agatha Hall—is scheduled to head to trial Sept. 19, according to court records.

According to a police affidavit completed by Philadelphia Police Det. Nordo Philip on Sept. 15, Philadelphia Police’s Homicide Unit interviewed two witnesses about the events on Aug. 31, where police found Hall dead in her apartment bedroom on York Street near Park Avenue.

The first witness told police she arrived at the apartment building at around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 31, and encountered Meade when the witness and her boyfriend entered the building. Meade then went upstairs and started to bang on Hall’s bedroom door.

“Agatha, let me in,” the witness recalled Meade saying. “Agatha, I left my gun in there, let me in. I need to get my gun. If you don’t let me in I’m gonna get my peoples after you.”

The witness then told police she heard a gunshot. A few seconds later, Meade added, “Oh my god why did she do that?”

After an investigation by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, Dr. Bruce H. Wainer determined Hall’s death to be a homicide.

A second witness was interviewed by Philadelphia Police’s Homicide Unit on Sept. 14. He told police he called Hall shortly after midnight Aug. 31, and that the conversation was short and ended with Hall stating, “I have to go, I have to go, I have to go.” He then got a call from her phone from an “irate male,” who talked in a threatening manner.

During the conversation, Hall said, “Don’t say anything,” which was then followed by a noise of someone being pushed and then a brief period of silence, according to the affidavit.

Evan Hughes, Meade’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.

-Steve Bohnel


Shakree Bennett, a 23-year-old from North Philadelphia, who was charged with sexually assaulting a 20-year-old student in September, had a status hearing yesterday morning according to court records.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Det. Edward Enriquez on Oct. 14, the student described the incident on Sept. 28 where she was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint.

On Sept. 29, Philadelphia Police’s Special Victims Unit investigators reviewed footage of the area where the sexual assault occurred, according to the affidavit.

The following day, Det. James Owens interviewed a male witness who said he saw the sexual assault happen, and noticed the man was around 25 years old, had short hair and had a black goatee.

After police reviewed SEPTA footage and held a press conference about the assault, the man was identified as Bennett, according to police.

Interviews conducted by the Special Victims Unit during early October led to Bennett’s arrest. First, police interviewed State Parole Agent Ben Mallow, who said he recognized the man in the surveillance footage as Bennett because he was on state parole for robbery, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit stated that police were able to track Bennett to his brother’s house in Newark, New Jersey after talking with a drug informant at Broad Street and Erie Avenue and Bennett’s mother. An anonymous phone call on Oct. 6 led police to a house in Newark.

On Oct. 8, police found Bennett at his brother’s house hiding under a bed on the third floor, according to the affidavit. They also recovered a puffy jacket and black hat, seen on the man identified in surveillance video of the incident.

The next day, the student was shown photos of six African-American males. She picked out Bennett as the person who sexually assaulted her. He was arrested and charged with the sexual assault Oct. 14.

-Steve Bohnel