[Hpn] Man tried for homeless elder's beating death in Norristown PA USA fw fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 3 Dec 2000 04:23:31 -0800 (PST)

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Nov 29, 2000
     News in brief from the Philadelphia area [untitled]

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A Norristown man is on trial in Montgomery County
Court on charges of having robbed and beaten an elderly homeless man to

Caesar Romero Thomas, 39, is charged with second-degree murder, robbery and
assault for allegedly committing a fatal attack on Ferdinand C. ``Reds''
Branca, 64, of Norristown, who was found May 9 behind a tavern where he was
a regular patron.

Prosecutor William DeNardo said Branca died as a result of injuries
suffered three days before on May 6, when he was allegedly robbed of $600
in cash and assaulted by Thomas in the defendant's back yard.

Former neighbors testified that they had seen a frail-looking elderly man
at the house and had seen Thomas pushing him from the yard. When police
arrived, Branca, who had blood on his head and clothes, told them he had
been robbed. He was admitted to Montgomery Hospital for a broken sternum
and rib and left the next day.

The jury trial before Judge Thomas M. DelRicci was expected to continue
Wednesday with attorney John McMahon Jr. presenting Thomas' defense.


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