``I think today is probably the most difficult day we've had,'' Polec's father, John, said later. ``Maybe because this witness was a little more articulate than others. And it was the first time that we ever heard that Eddie said anything after he was tripped.''
In surprising testimony, Convey said five Abington youths - Jason Mascione, Jeffrey and Jason Lang, Cem Onus and Ed Rogers - kicked and punched Polec before he was beaten with bats.
The five youths named by Convey have not been charged, and one - Mascione - testified earlier in the trial as a key witness for the prosecution. Mascione told the jury he was not near Polec.
Convey told the jury that as he stood, cheering the attackers on, he saw defendant Anthony Rienzi, 18, grab Polec and hold him up, while another defendant, Nicholas Pinero, 18, beat Polec three or four times in the head with a bat.
Convey said another defendant, Thomas Crook, 19, asked Convey for his bat and then hit Polec several times in the body.
Convey told the jury that he did not see three defendants - Dawan Alexander, 18, Bou Khathavong, 18, or Carlo Johnson, 20 - near Polec during the assault.
``They arrested some of the wrong guys,'' Michael E. Wallace, Alexander's attorney, said afterward. ``I told the jury in my opening that Dawan Alexander was around the corner and had nothing to do with Polec's death. An eyewitness, a co-conspirator, who was there during the entire incident, just said the same thing.''
Khathavong's attorney, Michael H. Applebaum, said Convey's account supported that ``Bou was where I've said he was all along - behind the church fighting with two other kids.''
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Casey acknowledged that Convey's testimony broke new ground, by naming youths as participants in the assault who have not been charged by the District Attorney's Office.
``It is a contradiction,'' Casey said, ``but not about who hit Eddie Polec in the head with a baseball bat or who was holding Eddie Polec while he was hit with a baseball bat.''
Earlier witnesses have testified that Pinero, Crook and Rienzi beat Polec with bats or held him as he was being beaten.
Convey, neatly attired in a navy suit, white shirt and tie, spoke clearly and confidently, despite four hours of relentless defense questioning.
Under terms of a plea agreement, Convey pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in exchange for testifying against the others.
Convey's attorney, Joseph Kelley Jr., said later that his client, the grandson of a retired Philadelphia police officer, was ``telling the truth. I have evaluated this entire case. These are the events as they occurred.''
Convey related how the plan for the fight in Fox Chase was hatched:
He said he learned the previous Wednesday, Nov. 9, 1994, that there was to be a fight Friday, Nov. 11, at the Fox Chase Recreation Center. At 6 p.m. that Friday, he testified, his girlfriend, Maureen Yodzio, picked him up; then they drove to get Rogers, Rienzi, Onus and Leon Braithewaite.
Convey said they drove in Yodzio's car to Philadelphia, where they all chipped in and bought $100 worth of marijuana. Then, he said, the group bought four 40-ounce bottles of beer.
En route back to Elkins Park, Convey testified, Johnson flagged their car down. ``Carlo and Bou told us they were going to Fox Chase and asked if we wanted to come and fight. I said we'd go.''
The plan was to meet at Crook's house in Hatboro. Convey testified that the males in his car smoked eight ``blunts,'' or cigars filled with marijuana, on the ride to Crook's house.
At Crook's house, Convey said, he heard Johnson ``talking about `curbing' someone. Carlo explained that if someone was laying on the ground, you'd open their mouth on the curb and then kick down on their head.''
The Abington area youths then picked up more participants for the fight at the Willow Grove Mall, and stopped at Rob Cofield's house in Abington, where, Convey testified, Johnson got two wooden baseball bats to take to the fight.
About 10 p.m., the Abington cars pulled into a Pizza Hut parking lot in Fox Chase, and the youths jumped out of cars and chased some Fox Chase youths behind a McDonald's, across railroad tracks to an auto-body-shop lot.
Convey testified he picked up a two-foot metal pole for the fight. He testified he saw Pinero with a baseball bat, Crook with a bottle, and another Abington youth, Onus, hit a Fox Chase boy with a bat.
The fighting broke off at the McDonald's, and Khathavong yelled, ``Go to the Rec,'' meaning the Fox Chase Recreation Center. Convey said the five carloads of Abington youths - males and females - zoomed off to nearby St. Cecilia's Church.
There, Convey testified, he saw Polec and two other boys walking across the parking lot. As the Abington cars pulled ahead of the three, the cars cut the boys off.
Convey testified he grabbed a baseball bat and jumped out, followed by Braithewaite, Rienzi, Onus and Rogers, all in his car.
Convey testified that he caught up with Polec. ``I raised the bat above my head. The boy arched his back and then he stumbled. He flipped over, and he rolled over onto his back, and he tried to defend himself with his feet.''
``I hit him once or twice in the legs. Anthony Rienzi, Cem Onus and Ed Rogers were next to catch up to him [Polec]. They kicked him. Jeffrey and Jason Lang and Jason Mascione were kicking him. I was standing there, watching.
``Thomas Crook came up and asked me for the bat. I gave it to him. I turned and walked away. I saw Nicholas Pinero running toward the boy [Polec] with a bat.''
Convey said he went back to his car and looked out and saw Rienzi, Pinero and Crook either holding, or beating, Polec.
``I saw Anthony Rienzi grab the boy. I saw Nick hit him in the head, and I saw Tom hitting him in the body. I saw Nick hit him three or four times. I saw Crook hit him once or twice in the legs.''
Convey said the attackers dispersed when somebody yelled ``Five-O,'' indicating police, and a young woman began to scream.
Afterward, Convey said, Polec ``just laid there.''
On the ride home, Convey testified, Pinero paged Yodzio in her car. ``He told me he had hit the kid in the head with the bat.''
The next day, after learning that Polec had died, Convey said that he, Rienzi and some others talked about concocting an alibi.
``Joseph McFadden told us that we could say we were at his house and his mom would say that, too,'' Convey testified.
Convey said Crook later told him that ``he had hit the kid but he didn't hit him in the head. . . . Anthony Rienzi told me that he held the boy up while Nick hit him.''
Under defense questioning, Convey admitted he spoke twice to police about Polec's killing and ``did not tell the complete truth because I was scared and ashamed.''
``Why did you plead guilty?'' asked Pinero's attorney, A. Charles Peruto Sr.
``Because I am guilty. I conspired to go down there and fight. We were going to beat up people. We didn't specify Eddie Polec.''