Three Philadelphia men accused of beating a Lansdale man to death more than two years ago outside a Phillies game have pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.
They were originally charged with murder. 37-year-old Charles Bowers, 48-year-old James Groves and 30-year-old Francis Kirchner entered open pleas, which leave their sentences up to the judge. They could get up to 40 years in state prison, but the sentencing guidelines call for much less than that. Sentencing is set for December. The guilty pleas came Tuesday in a courtroom appearance that was originally for a hearing on defense motions to dismiss the charges because the prosecution failed to tell the defense that a witness would identify two of the three defendants. Court rules require prosecutors to reveal incriminating evidence, including identifications, to the defense. The 22-year-old victim, David Sale, was brutally punched and kicked in July of 2009. Police said the men jumped him during an alcohol-fueled fight in a stadium parking lot. Witnesses said the three attackers were with a group from Moe’s Tavern, a Fishtown bar that sponsored a bus trip to the game, while Sale was there with a bachelor party.