Testimony, closing arguments heard in attempted murder case

Testimony continued Tuesday at Center City’s Court of Common Pleas in the case of Richard Dodds.

Testimony continued Tuesday at Center City’s Court of Common Pleas in the case of Richard Dodds, a Montgomery County man who is being charged with attempted murder in shooting of a 2013 Temple graduate.

Around 2 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2010, Dodds, who is not affiliated with the university, allegedly fired a single gunshot at Ian Hirst-Hermans, a Temple alumni, during a Halloween house party at the 2100 block of N. 17th Street in Philadelphia. The victim, who was shot near the chest, survived, but was rushed to Temple University Hospital in critical, but stable condition.

The alleged shooting stemmed from an argument after Hirst-Hermans talked to the defendant’s girlfriend, Shannon Bouvia.

Bouvia began a relationship with Dodds back in March 2010, and invited him to the party on the night of the shooting.

According to her testimony, an unknown Asian male punched the defendant in the face and three men attacked Dodds, pinning him into the ground. She also described how Hirst-Hermans followed her and the defendant outside.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” she said.

Andy Choi, a former rugby player from Temple, testified yesterday that he was the one who assaulted Dobbs first.

“I hit him in the face,” Choi said. “I initiated the fight.”

The ex-athlete was arrested on the same night for aggravated assault of a police officer and was released on Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) and had his record expunged after six months. He was also arrested for disorderly conduct in 2012 – an unrelated offense.

Choi was never charged for punching Dodds.

Defense Attorney Christopher Phillips also began calling character witnesses to testify under the behalf of the defendant.

Andrew Gallo, a former employer of Dodds, described him as a well-mannered individual while working at Zacharias Café in Worcester. However, during cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Allison Worysz, Gallo began to express his emotion when he and other employees heard about the incident.

“People were shocked about what happened,” Gallo said. “He was such a peaceful man.”

Ciana Coppa, a co-worker of Dodds at Chadwick’s on Audubon, knew the defendant for five years. She also testified that the defendant did not possess the aggressive persona of what a man charged with attempted murder would have.

“My co-workers, parents, they all believed he was a peaceful man,” Coppa said. “We were all in utter shock and disbelief that he would do this.”

Joseph Baldassari, Dodd’s fourth grade basketball coach, knew the defendant for 12 years in the community. According to his testimony, Baldassari knew of the event through his son, Micheal, who was also a team member.

In all these examples, Worysz argued that none of them ever met the defendant during a drinking party – they never shared a beer or been drunk with him.

However, one witness knew Dodds longer than any other person testifying.

Amanda Barretta, 23, considered Dodds like a brother. She knew the defendant for nine years, since high school. Worysz suggested that their closeness could insinuate that they were corroborating, but Barretta told Phillips that she would never lie for him.

Dodds was given the opportunity to testify on his behalf, but he decided not to take the stand.

Closing arguments commenced later in the afternoon, as both parties reiterated their cases in front of the jury.

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