More on the Ung Trial

From Above the Law, with plenty of links. We now have more information from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Police Officer Mario DeLuca, who also testified Tuesday, said he and his partner were on “nightclub detail,” parked at Third and Market, when they heard four or five shots.

Within five seconds, DeLuca testified, they arrived on the scene and witnesses were pointing to Ung as the shooter. He pushed Ung against a wall and needed two other officers to help handcuff Ung.

DeLuca said he removed the .38-caliber pistol from Ung’s pocket.

“He was struggling,” DeLuca testified. “He kept saying, ‘I have a permit to carry.’ “

Two other officers in plain clothes or in uniform? It would also seem Ung may not have realized it’s a permit to carry, not a permit to shoot people. If police show up on a scene, and you’re standing over a dead guy with a gun, you can pretty much expect to be cuffed, at the least. We also learned, from other sources, Ung’s gun was a Kel-Tec in .380 caliber. Probably a P-3AT.

42 thoughts on “More on the Ung Trial”

  1. They removed the gun from his pocket. He had put it away, the threat was over, he called the police. He was probably surprised they were arresting him. I am not sure how I would act in this same scenerio. I also think the police were securing the area and Ung being pointed out had to do with them rough handing him.
    I have watched the video over 100 times. The video will be played and the jury will see him retreat and the Rich, Well Connected drunken bully charge Mr. Ung.
    I feel sorry for this guy in more ways that I could ever type!

  2. I’ll be surprised if Ung walks on self defense. We’ll just have to see who has the better lawyer.

  3. The “Above the Law Link” furnished above seems to be somewhat horrified that six shots were fired. I recall reading that Col Cooper once served as expert in a similar case, where multiple shots from a minor caliber handgun were alleged by prosecution to show murderous intent.

    Does anyone know how the Castle Doctrine changes that died last year would have affected this case, if at all?

  4. Something that is telling to me but no one has mentioned… When the gun comes out, his girlfriend moves to the side with one of the supposed attackers. If she (and he) are scared of these people, why did she move with the supposed attacker instead of getting closer to her boyfriend with the gun?

  5. Hard to say… I haven’t heard any argument he violated a duty to retreat yet. The prosecution seems to be hinging on the fact that, in their view, he didn’t have any reason to fear grave bodily harm or death, and that he acted with malice.

  6. Jujube:

    Watching the video, you see someone try to pull her away from the guy in the white hat, who seemed to be physically menacing her. We now know Ung had another friend with him. It’s possible that’s Ung’s other friend.

  7. What planet do you have to be from to conclude that he had no reason to fear grave harm? Even with a video that shows quite clearly that he was in grave danger, he still gets charged. God help the next guy who doesn’t have the benefit of video to prove his claims.

  8. I am befuddled that Ung is rolling the dice and didn’t cop a plea, such as dropping the attempted murder and doing a commuted jail time of 18 months for aggravated assault. Say what you want about the validity of self defense here, it’s going to be very difficult for Ung to convince a jury that he was acting appropriately in emptying a clip into an unarmed man in these circumstances. Commonsense people will see this for what it was: lots of BS and bravado from two bar groups that usually ends in verbal or fisticuffs, but here in near death because this guy carries a loaded gun to a bar. It’s all about risk/reward. If you’re Ung and you get convicted, it’s 20 years in jail and you can kiss you chance to ever practice law away. It just doesn’t add up.

  9. And a little more food for thought (from someone who very much respects the Second Amendment): I was at a Phillies-Mets game last summer and I saw a Mets fan peeing in the parking lot. I yelled at him to stop. He yelled back an obscenity. I yelled again. He started to run after me and I high tailed it. He was a big guy and if he caught me (he didn’t, thankfully), my guess is he would have punched me or pushed me down. Do you really think in this circumstance if I thought he was going to catch me, I could have turned around and blown him away with a Glock, citing “grave danger”? In my view Ung’s actions in trying to kill DiDonato were entirely disproportionate. You just can’t have that in a civil society.

  10. I should note that you had multiple attackers in this instance… where it can be entirely appropriate for a response with deadly force. I don’t see any reason why Ung should be expected by a punching bag for a bunch of liquored up, strong young men.

    I’m not yet convinced his actions were appropriate, but there’s nothing yet I’ve seen that automatically shuts down a self-defense claim.

  11. “not a permit to shoot people”

    Arizona seems to be a state where the CCW holder needs to inform police that they are carrying.

    So, no, I don’t think he was trying to get out of anything with his remarks.

  12. I am befuddled that Ung is rolling the dice and didn’t cop a plea, such as dropping the attempted murder and doing a commuted jail time of 18 months for aggravated assault.

    That’s one reason right there, I bet: 18 months = permanent loss of 2nd Amendment rights.

    Say what you want about the validity of self defense here, it’s going to be very difficult for Ung to convince a jury that he was acting appropriately in emptying a clip into an unarmed man in these circumstances.

    If using his firearm for self-defense was warranted (and 4-on-1 odds is a very strong argument that it was even if they were unarmed), then firing until the attacker stops is what is appropriate – whether it’s one shot or emptying the entire magazine (NOT “clip”), and even reloading if necessary. From the video, it appears he stopped firing when the attacker stopped.

    Commonsense people will see this for what it was: lots of BS and bravado from two bar groups that usually ends in verbal or fisticuffs, but here in near death because this guy carries a loaded gun to a bar.

    “Commonsense” people? You’re not japete in disguise, are you? I mean, that sentence is pretty much straight from the Brady playbook. I’ve seen no indication that Ung was drinking, and whether the other group was drunk or not became irrelevant the moment Ung was attacked; 4-on-1 is a deadly threat whether the 4 are sober or not. Fists are deadly weapons.

    It just doesn’t add up.

    Unless he was justified and doesn’t want to lose his rights forever because of a felony conviction.

  13. And to think this all started over some stupid comments about chinups after the bars closed. These kinds of incidents between men or boys occur thousands of times in thousands of locations every day and night. What was unique about this was that Ung was packing. Ung was not alone, he had a means of escape, he was in a crowded area with many others (including cops) in the vicinity, and once he decided to use his gun, he did so not to slow DiDonato down, but to kill an unarmed man. All bad judgments, no doubt fueled by his alcohol level and the presence of a girl in Ung’s posse.

    If you want to defend the Second Amendment, please do, but don’t expect a lot of sympathy for gun use if you defend this outrageous behavior.

  14. This is what the case is going to hinge on, and also whether Ung created the conditions that lead to his need to use deadly force.

    No doubt the prosecution is going to argue he had a duty to retreat, but did his girlfriend? She looked rather cornered in the video to me.

    I’m very curious to hear about the girlfriend’s testimony. I think much will hinge on that. But the fact that DiDonoto was unarmed doesn’t rule out self-defense.

  15. Wow. I just checked out that Above The Law article. They actually make statements that directly contradict the video you linked to earlier.

    DiDonato has no contact with Ung until he puts up his hands and says, “Hey man, we’re all going home.” Ung responds by firing six shots, one right through the kid’s hand. Ung shoots an unarmed guy from five feet away.

    Compare that to the video of DiDonato rushing Ung as he retreats and then making physical contact with Ung before any shots are fired.

    @JMan: I was originally being flippant when I asked if you were japete, but now you really are sounding like a Brady shill. Do you have a source to cite when you state that Ung was drinking, or what his BAC was? Because (as I noted before) I haven’t seen anything to that effect.

    Ung was not alone, he had a means of escape

    He was backing away when he was rushed and attacked physically. You might argue that he could have turned and run away, but that would have meant a) hoping he could outrun 4 larger, athletic aggressors, and b) leaving his girlfriend behind, possibly with as many as 4 large, athletic aggressors.

    he was in a crowded area with many others (including cops) in the vicinity,

    None of which made any move to help them when confronted with 4 aggressive men.

    once he decided to use his gun, he did so not to slow DiDonato down, but to kill an unarmed man.

    Once he decided it was necessary to use his gun, he did so to stop an attacker. If he did it to kill him, he wouldn’t have stopped shooting when the attack stopped.

    All bad judgments, no doubt fueled by his alcohol level and the presence of a girl in Ung’s posse.

    All bad judgments in your opinion. And again, do you have anything to show he had been drinking?

  16. I know in a number of states, including mine, being attacked by a group is considered to be the equivalent of being attacked by an individual with a lethal weapon; which means you can use lethal force in self-defense.

  17. @Sebastian: I may be going a bit over the top with that, but you have to admit that he is hitting a bunch of the standard Brady talking points:

    “guns in bars = zomg bad!!!”
    “he emptied the clip!” and “six shots is too many!”
    “the victim was unarmed!” (the only close to reasonable argument, but easily countered)
    “he did so not to slow DiDonato down, but to kill” (i.e., “shoot to wound!”)
    “he could have run away!”

  18. I have no evidence that Ung was drinking, and I do not know if this will come up at trial, but I believe the jury, consisting of everday citizens, will presume so unless the defense disproves the presumption. Most individuals leaving bars at 2:45 am on a Saturday night can be presumed drinking. Yes, it’s possible our gun toting part time law student was sipping Diet Cokes, but I doubt it. I suspect DiDonato had a few pops too.

    It’s also everyday experience–including the jury’s–that individuals that have had alcoholic beverages, even just one or two, will be more aggressive than those that are stone sober. No rocket science here either, fellas.

    Ung’s agitated state when he saw the girl jump into the chinup mix, and his state of resistance when the cop asked for his weapon, will no doubt weigh heavily with the jury.

    It’s ironic that Ung’s lawyer, McMahon, created some controversy in the ’90’s over a DA instructional video (available on the web) dealing with racial prejudices and jury selection. Here the tables are turned, and McMahon has railed against the “privileged” DiDonato. It won’t wash, and if you look at McMahon’s video it’s hard to believe under McMahon’s own view of life that an Asian law student will attract much sympathy from an urban jury for this shooting.

    DiDonato’s pretty much an open book. Prominent former college athlete, son of a local lawyer, pretty much the typical middle to upper middle class kid right out of college. I’m hoping the trial sheds more light on the mysterious Ung. All we know is he was a part time night law student at Temple who carried around a loaded gun, and lived over the Penn and Drexel campuses. What did Ung do with all his free time? The jury will have questions about his background and wonder why a guy like this packed heat. These are technically not relevant questions in this case, but if I were McMahon I would shed some more light on his client to avoid the jury’s temptation to exercise its imagination.

    One thing is for certain: the jury will know that it was extremely unlikely that this tiff about chinups would end in near death if Ung had exercised an ounce of discretion and avoided carrying a loaded gun into a bar. Over and out.

  19. Typical east coast crap.

    In Oregon, and attack by three unarmed people = deadly force by statute.

    Not only could he have shot all three of them here, the perps would not have been allowed to sue him afterward.

    No amount of harsh words justifies using deadly force, and an attack by mthree drunk men constitutes deadly force in any sane jurisdiction.

  20. “Fists are deadly weapons”. Hmmm.

    Let’s go back to my Phillies-Mets experience above. I’m being run down by a 6’4 goonish Mets fan. Believe me, his fists were clenched and I think–but don’t know, how could I–that he could use them on me. I think he’s going to catch up to me too.

    So here he comes, screaming at me, fists clenched, a malevolent look in his squinting eyes….can I empty my Glock into him?

  21. Oops, I forgot to mention. He’s chasing me on the East Coast.
    If it were on the West Coast, my fellow Phillies fans would have already shot him for peeing. Sorry for the confusion.

  22. So here he comes, screaming at me, fists clenched, a malevolent look in his squinting eyes….can I empty my Glock into him?

    If four of his friends have surrounded you, and are menacing your woman friend, as it would seem to be the case in the video (we’ll see when the girlfriend testifies), if I were on that jury you’d walk.

  23. I guess you don’t want to answer my question. Anyone else care to take a “shot” at it?

  24. What’s the point? These things are all circumstantial. In your circumstance, you were capable of running, and you did. Probably the smart move. If you had emptied a Glock into the guy you probably would be put on trial. Would I fault a prosecutor for doing that? No. But Ung’s circumstances aren’t the same as the ones you describe.

    The point is, in some circumstances, fists can put you in grave danger of serious bodily injury of harm. What if it had been a 6’4″ attacker, and the shooter was a woman with an ankle injury that prevented her from fleeing?

  25. JMan, no. As I’m pretty sure you already know. in most states, mine for certain, being threatened with being punched by a single opponent is NOT considered grounds for using lethal force in self-defense. UNLESS there’s a complication such as Sebastian notes above; say an old man or woman who can’t run and who could be seriously injured by a single punch or kick.

  26. And I would note if it had just been Ung, and only DiDonato, without his friends, and Ung had shot the guy, I would agree that’s highly questionable without some sort of extraordinary circumstances.

    I carry defensive spray to deal with drunk assholes. Firearms are for situations you can’t get out of without risking a morgue or the ICU. One on one, generally speaking, isn’t that situation. Five on one, or five on three where one of them is a woman can be, depending on circumstances.

    Ung should have been carrying spray in addition to a pistol. If he had, he might have gotten out of that situation without having to kill anyone, and he could have been home that night laughing with his girlfriend about the “broski” writhing on the sidewalk, rather than having to explain to police why he shot an unarmed man.

    But then again, maybe he wouldn’t have. When you have five potential attackers, that’s greatly different than if you have just one.

  27. Not sure who the “drunk asshole” was here, Ung or DiDonato. In any event, the point I was trying to make–apparently unsuccessfully to this cyber group of gunslingers–is that a POSSIBLE attack by fists alone does not give one license to kill another.

    So you flunked the test, Sebastian. But hope is not lost. Maybe we can employ you to guard the Phillies parking lot as a deterrent from peeing Mets fans. Whatever.

    Ung had the option to retreat, and he didn’t. Ung had the option to defend himself, if necessary, without resort to deadly means, and he didn’t. Ung had the option to fire a warning shot or a single shot into Ung’s leg, and he didn’t. But most of all–and listen up gunslingers–Ung could have done nothing, because there was no indication other than DiDonato’s movement toward him which indicated a “threat”, let alone a “grave threat”. Your psuedo-chivalrous speculation that the girl was in some sort of danger is nonsense.

    Fortunately the law in PA injects a reasonable person standard, or else there would be total carnage in our streets and playgrounds due to people with your mentality.

  28. I’ve looked at the video several times and from what I can see, DiDonato never approaches Ung until Ung pulls the gun out. DiDonato looks to be defending everyone against Ung who has a gun.

    If Ung had shot the guy in the white jacket, I might have felt it was justified since that guy actually was the one doing the physical taunting. But DiDonato? He looks like someone just walking along minding his own business up until the very end.

  29. Ung had the option to fire a warning shot or a single shot into Ung’s leg, and he didn’t.

    Oh please, not this again. This isn’t the movies, and it would still be aggravated assault. If he was justified in shooting someone, he was justified in shooting for the center of mass as police officers and citizen gun toters are trained to do.


    I’ve watched the video repeatedly, and I see someone struggling with the girl before the gun came out. I can’t say for sure what’s going on. The jury is in a better position to determine what’s going on than we are, because they have testimony to go with what they are seeing.

  30. Besides all the other options, Ung also could have yelled for the cops if he really felt “threatened” by DiDonato walking toward him. Old City at bar closing is crawling with cops and other people. It’s a madhouse. As it was, the cops came to the scene within 120 seconds of the shooting.

    Why didn’t Ung do any of these things? You know and I know the reason. Because he was pissed and didn’t want the embarrassment of backing down when DiDonato and his guys starting returning volley on the trash talk and walking toward them. Remember, Ung was with his buddies and the girl. Wouldn’t look too cool for Mr. Big carrying his pistol to run or ask for help, would it?

    One thing led to another and, fight or flight, he just kept squeezing the trigger. It must seem like a bad dream for him now, but a real life was affected forever and Ung has to pay the consequences for his actions.

  31. If any assumptions are to be made, I will always give the defense the benefit of the doubt.

    Thank Christ youre not on that jury.

  32. Sebastian,

    Look at the video again. DiDonato is over on the far right side, walking behind the group with a friend. He has on a dark jacket and a light shirt that looks like it has big black spots (like buttons) on the front.

    Only after the gun comes out does he cross over towards the left side of the video where Ung is. DiDonato’s hands are dangling loosely by his sides the entire time. DiDonato never comes close to the girl.

  33. Sebastian,

    I just noticed that the guy the girl runs to the side with is the guy who was walking next to DiDonato in the back of the group.

  34. She’s seen facing the guy with the white hat when the shooting starts, after some sort of words were being exchanged leading up to that. At the beginning, it looks like a third party, probably Ung’s other friend, is leading Ung and the girl away from DiDonato’s party, while words are being exchanged between the girl and white hat. Then a scuffle ensues, the gun gets drawn, and the rest is history. How the scuffle works I’m not sure yet. I need to watch it slowed down, but it’s possible there’s not enough information to figure out what’s going on without having the same information the jury has, namely the statements and testimony that goes with the video.

  35. If DiDonato is an open book, let’s see his criminal record and BAC on the night in question against the defendants. And since he’s a college athlete, throw in a test for anabolic steroids as well.

  36. Jman,
    you are incredibly ignorant on the subject of self-defense. You also appear to be anti-self defense, from your rote parroting of of the Left’s mantras on the subject.
    To begin with, look up the subject of “disparity of force” in the legal field, regarding the use of weapons against attackers. What you will discover is a physical attack by multiple attackers, or bigger, or younger ones, justifies the use of a weapon, up to and including lethal force. Also, the knowledge of, or display of a martial arts ability by an attacker, is sufficient to justify it. In other words, if you know your attacker is a trained fighter such as a recognized boxer, or Karate expert, or he simply assumes a recognizable martial arts position/stance, that is sufficient basis to employ a weapon against him. This is because the law rates his hands/body as deadly weapons. In other words, he is a weapon, and any use of force in a confrontation can be charged as employing lethal force, even with empty hands.

    The police are taught this, and have shot and killed naked people who have assumed a martial arts stance and challenged them.

    The first publicized use of a concealed permit in Texas was a guy in a car being punched by a much larger man in a display of road rage. He shot and killed his attacker. He suffered severe injuries before he was able to access his gun, and it was ruled as justified due to the physical disparity between them.

    Someone who travels in a group and attacks other citizens deserves no sympathy from the public, whether drunk or not.

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