It has been a while since we last wrote about Gerald Ung, the Temple Law student who was arrested in January for shooting Edward “Eddie” DiDonato Jr. (a former college lacrosse star who also has a legal connection — his father is a partner at Fox Rothschild, the prominent Philadelphia firm). Today we have two updates.
First, a reader alerted us to some updates in the criminal case against Ung, who faces five charges, including attempted murder. According to the docket, it appears that a scheduling took place last week, on June 24, and a trial date was set.
The trial date: February 7, 2011. Wondered our reader: “Huh? Do they usually wait that long for an attempted murder trial?”
We have some thoughts on this, plus an update on Eddie DiDonato….
Regarding the trial date, it could be that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is a bit conflicted on this case (as are our readers — just see the comment threads on prior posts). Yes, Ung is charged with attempted murder, and it doesn’t get much more serious than that. At the same time, the underlying events are messy, despite the presence of (grainy) video, and Ung might claim self-defense (as his lawyer has suggested at prior proceedings). So this might be a case of “Yes, it’s attempted murder, BUT….”
In addition, it’s quite likely — at least statistically speaking — that this case will be resolved by a plea agreement. If that’s the case, then the trial date is really just a formality.
UPDATE: There are some thoughtful opinions about the trial date in the comments.
Second, Ung’s victim, Edward DiDonato, is making good progress in his recovery. At various points after the shooting, it seemed like DiDonato, who suffered six bullet wounds at close range, might not make it. But now he seems to be doing well (and presumably should be able to testify at trial).
The site PhillyLacrosse.com is currently publishing an excellent series of articles profiling DiDonato. The quality of work coming from such a niche sports website — it’s focused on lacrosse, not a huge sport to begin with in terms of fans, and it’s limited to the Philadelphia area — is impressive.
The pieces are worth reading (links collected below). The latest post, published on April 26, provides this update on DiDonato:
“Every day I feel lucky to be here,” says DiDonato, who recently left Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia to enter a day program with Magee. “I have days where I say, ‘God, I just wish my leg would come back’ or ‘God, I wish I was fine and everything was back to normal.”
“But at the same time, I’m here. A couple of times I was almost gone. Just to be here every day and to be able to see my parents and the rest of my family, all my friends is definitely a blessing.”
DiDonato has made major strides during his time at Magee:
When he arrived at Magee, DiDonato was 30 pounds lighter and needed help to do just about everything. He could stand, but with crutches, and only for a few seconds.
After weeks of intense occupational and physical therapy, DiDonato is almost fully independent and is rapidly regaining his strength. He can get up and down steps with assistance and walk for extended minutes at a time with a cane.
“I remember when I came here, I had no muscle when I flexed my right arm,” said DiDonato, an avid weightlifter before the shooting. “That was a tough thing for me to see.”
We’ll keep you posted regarding developments in this case. If you have anything you can share with us — for example, does anyone know Gerald’s status as a Temple Law student? — please email us (subject line: “Gerald Ung”). Thanks.
Commonwealth v. Ung [docket summary]
Commonwealth v. Ung [full docket]
Eddie DiDonato shows progress in his rehab: ‘Every day I feel lucky to be here’ [PhillyLacrosse.com]
Eddie DiDonato continues rehab: ‘I have learned patience … and about humility’ [PhillyLacrosse.com]
Eddie DiDonato gives first interview: ‘The first thing I remember’ after the shooting [PhillyLacrosse.com]
Support Eddie Didonato on his road to recovery!!! [Facebook]