Parent cleared in peewee-game fight

Posted: April 18, 2007

A parent accused of pulling a large-caliber handgun on a coach after fighting with him on the sideline at a peewee football game in Northeast Philadelphia was found not guilty yesterday.

Municipal Court Judge Craig M. Washington acquitted Wayne Derkotch, 41, of charges of assault, recklessly endangering another person, and possession of an instrument of crime.

Police said Derkotch had pulled a .357 Magnum revolver after fighting with Jermaine Wilson, coach of the Northeast Outlaws, during an Oct. 22 game involving 5- and 6-year-olds.

Witnesses said Derkotch had begun fighting with Wilson after arguing that his son was not getting enough playing time during the Sunday morning game at Burholme Park, in the 7300 block of Central Avenue.

Defense lawyer Brian Quinn said a witness had testified that Wilson punched Derkotch in the head four or five times. He said Derkotch then had pulled the gun, walked to his pickup truck, and waited for police to arrive.

After the gun was drawn, a referee shouted for the players to go to the far side of the field, where they ran and crouched. The referee was cleared of charges resulting from events after the gun was pulled.

In the fight, Quinn said, Derkotch lost a tooth, and one of his eyes was swollen.

"The judge found that he acted in self-defense," Quinn said, noting that Derkotch had a permit to carry the weapon. "He pulled the gun to stop the beating."

Assistant District Attorney Randy Hsia said, "We're disappointed with the verdict. Our witnesses testified that Derkotch was the aggressor."

Hsia said prosecution witnesses had said Wilson punched Derkotch after Derkotch pushed him.

Prosecution witnesses said Derkotch had been trying to punch Wilson and then pulled out the gun and pointed it at Wilson's chest.

"My argument was that [Derkotch's] actions were not in self-defense," Hsia said. "He used disproportionate use of force. An individual cannot pull a gun in response to a fistfight."


Contact staff writer Vernon Clark

at 215-854-5717 or vclark@phillynews.com.

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