Brutal Beating Description Not Accurate: Attorneys

Suspects call victim's character into question when related to the case

Attorneys for the father and son accused of beating a Philadelphia man into a coma over who had the right of way are calling the victim's character into question.

Gerald Shaffer, Sr., 47, and his 21-year-old son Gerald are accused of getting into a fight with Mark Wallace at the intersection of Knights and Fairdale Roads on April 8.

Wallace, 54, was attempting to cross the road when the Shaffers pulled up to the intersection. The men began to argue over who had the right to cross first, police say.

That verbal argument grew into a physical fight, which in the end left Wallace in a coma. After almost two weeks in the vegetative state, the man's family took him off life support Tuesday.

Wallace was described by family as a man's man who liked to build things, but the Shaffers' attorneys James Funt and Johnathan Krinick are painting a much different picture.

The council alleges it was Wallace who began the fight and that he was drunk at the time of the incident.

"We would caution a rush to judgment in this case, where death, though tragic, was accidental," they said on behalf of their clients in a statement.

Funt and Krinick say the Shaffers didn't mean to harm Wallace and were simply defending themselves.

"While Mr. Wallace’s death is tragic, there was never any intention on the part of Mr. Schaffer or his son to cause him injury," they said. "Based on our investigation, the description of a brutal beating is simply not accurate."

The attorneys also point to Wallace's criminal history as a point of issue. "…he had been incarcerated as recently as 2009 and 2010. He was also on active probation in Bucks County."

The Shaffers currently face several charges including aggravated assault, simple assault and conspiracy. Those charges are expected to be increased to murder.

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