Two teens charged in Patterson Park bludgeoning death Victim, 45, robbed of less than $10, city police say


Two teen-agers were charged yesterday with beating a 45-year-old man to death early Thursday morning in Patterson Park in a robbery that police said netted less than $10.

Killed in the attack was James Charles Turch of the 2300 block of East Fayette Street, whose body was found shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday by a passer-by. The body was near a park path about 120 feet from Eastern Avenue.

Mr. Turch was bludgeoned to death with a large piece of wood and suffered severe head trauma, according to the autopsy report.

Witnesses told police that four or five youths may have participated in the attack. It was the second instance of a gang of teen-agers attacking an adult in Patterson Park in recent weeks.

But police said they had found no link between the killing of Mr. Turch and the attack May 17 in which Expedito "Pedro" Lugo was beaten unconscious with his own baseball bat. He suffered a fractured skull and brain damage, and is now undergoing therapy at the Montebello Rehabilitation Hospital.

Three youths are in custody in connection with the attack on Mr. Lugo -- two of them 15 years old, the other 19 -- and they have been indicted on charges of attempted murder in the first degree, assault and possession of a deadly weapon

That assault last month outraged neighbors and brought attention to their long-standing complaints about bands of Hampstead Hill Middle School students attacking and intimidating people on their way home in the afternoon. The school year ended two weeks ago.

Police say they believe the latest attack and the beating of Mr. Lugo are unrelated.

"Based on hours of interviews with residents and witnesses, we believe that it is unrelated, that the motive for the homicide [early Thursday] in Patterson Park was robbery," said Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a police department spokeswoman. "The suspects are believed to have taken under $10."

Numerous telephone calls were received by the Police Department from people claiming to have witnessed the attack and offering information.

One suspect, 15-year-old Anthony Fields, was arrested at his home in the 300 block of South Madeira Street about 2 a.m. yesterday on a warrant charging him as an adult with first-degree murder, police said. He was ordered held without bail at a hearing before a District Court commissioner and was being held last night at the Southeastern District lockup.

Police said the other teen-ager charged as an adult with first-degree murder -- Terry A. Ostrowski, 17, of the 1600 block of East Baltimore Street -- was still being sought last night.

The youths indicted in the Lugo case are Keith M. Robinson of the 1000 block of North Collington Avenue and James I. Holley 3rd of the 2500 block of Ashland Avenue, both 15, and Andre D. Flythe, 19, of the 1100 block of Montpelier Street.

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