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New Year’s Shooters get jail two shot at cops guilty

The appearance of Police Commissioner John F. Timoney yesterday at the trial of two men charged with shooting at two cops on New Year’s morning provoked an angry exchanged between the defense and the prosecution. Defense attorney Michael Diamondstein accused Timoney of grandstanding. He also claimed the accusing cops were cowards, and lying about being shot at by the defendants.

Assistant District Attorney Jerome Teresinski was outraged. He argued that Timoney had every right to be present at the trial, and called the cops “heroes.”

A jury convicted Julius Stockton, 26, of 17th Street near Reed, of attempted murder, aggravated assault and terrorist threats.

Co-defendant Jakim McClenton, 25, of 23rd Street near Morris, was acquitted of most of the charges, but convicted of a weapons offense.

Common Pleas Judge Anthony J. DeFino committed both men to prison to await sentencing.

Some spectators were obviously agitated when the first verdict was announced. A few began shouting. DeFino warned them to be quiet while the other verdicts were being taken.

Teresinski said that when Capt. Gerald Fretz, commander of the 17th Police District in South Philadelphia, and Officer William Phillips encountered four men shooting into an abandoned car at 22nd and Morris streets in Point Breeze, just after midnight, they thought someone might be inside.

“So they risked their lives despite the four shooters,” said Teresinski.

The cops approached the gunman and ordered them to drop their weapons. One had a rifle, three had handguns.

Instead, the gunmen turned and began shooting at he officers, Teresinski said.

The cops returned fire and wounded Stockton and McClenton. Two others got away. Stockton was hit twice. McClenton suffered one gunshot wound.

The prosecutor said that about 15 minutes before midnight, another cop was told by Stockton: “I hope you’re around when I’m shooting my gun off, because I’ll light your a-off, and blow up the whole f—district.” “This is a tremendous day for the citizens of Philadelphia, and a tremendous day for the Philadelphia Police Department,” said Teresinski.

By: Staff Writer

Philadelphia Daily News