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DiDonato’s friend testifies: “I didn’t know he had a gun in his pocket and was gonna shoot someone seven times.”

Wednesday, 9th February 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, Posted 2/9/11
Staff Report

Eddie DiDonato’s best friend testified today that he had no idea what trouble was brewing last January when he kept arguing with Gerald Ung, who is now on trial for shooting DiDonato six times.

“No I just agitated the shooter,” said Tom Kelly, after Ung’s defense lawyer asked him if he got laughs for trading barbs with Ung. “I didn’t know he had a gun in his pocket and was gonna shoot someone seven times.”

Kelly was one of two of DiDonato’s friends that testified in the second day of Ung’s trial at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Ung, 29, of Virginia, is charged with attempted murder for shooting the former La Salle College High and Villanova lacrosse standout.

The incident, caught on surveillance tapes in front of the Fox 29 studio at Third and Market streets, occurred early in the morning after a night of nightclubbing by two groups of friends in Philadelphia last Jan. 17.

Ung’s high-profile attorney Jack McMahon, continually questioned Kelly for his role in escalating the dispute that lasted about 90 seconds and led to Ung pulling out a semi-automatic handgun. McMahon has claimed Ung shot DiDonato in self-defense only after DiDonato, Kelly and two other friends kept rushing toward Ung, who also was with two friends,

“It was stupid, if I could take it back I would, but I chimed in,” said Kelly when questioned about why he got involved in the dispute that began with Ung and another DiDonato friend. “Because Eddie’s buddy is my buddy.”

DiDonato took five bullets to his abdomen and one to his hand. He spent a month in Intensive Care at Jefferson University Hospital and still suffers from partial paralysis in his left leg as well as other internal problems.

McMahon asked Kelly about why Ung became enraged during the argument, which lasted less than a block, from Third toward Fourth Street.

“You saw nothing to precipitate a rage?” asked McMahon. “Correct,” Kelly answered.

”Your friends were getting screamed at for no reason?” McMahon asked. “Correct,” said Kelly.

The dispute ended seconds later when Ung pulled out his Kel-Tec semi-automatic pistol and pointed it toward Kelly. DiDonato then went toward Ung with his hands up; he had testified Monday that he went only to diffuse the situation before being shot.

Throughout the first two days of testimony, the jury was shown the Fox videotape of the incident numerous times on a TV.

Also testifying today was Andrew DiLoreto, a DiDonato teammate on Villanoa’s championship team of 2009 now living in New York. He said he had come to Philly to see a Villanova basketball and catch up with family and friends.

After the DiDonato group left Lucy’s Bar, DiLoreto testified that he tried to do a chin-up on some scaffolding when Ung began to taunt him.

“I jumped on a low-level bar of scaffolding and attempted to do a pull-up,” DiLoreto said. “We were joking around and getting caught up after not seeing each other for a while.

“No, I didn’t successfully do a pull-up. I just hung there. I heard Ung screaming at me, saying, ‘Nice hair bro-ski!’ I wasn’t even sure he was talking to me.

“His tone was extremely elevated. I couldn’t figure out why he was yelling at me now.”

DeLoreto testified that DiDonato was telling Ung and his friends that he didn’t want trouble and wanted to just go home as the groups moved down Market Street. Ung’s friends also were trying to push Ung away.

After DiDinato was shot, DiLoreto recalled his thoughts were of sheer horror.

“We went to the police station and gave statements and it seemed like forever,” he testified. “We wanted to get into the hospital to see our friend because the last time I saw him he was lying in the middle of the street bleeding to death.”


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