Woman gets time served in fatal W. Phila. beating

Posted: March 05, 2009

At her sentencing yesterday in Common Pleas Court, Echo Ward turned to the victim's parents and wept.

"I don't know what to tell you," Ward, 25, said to Peg and Tom Bradly, who were also in tears. "I'm sorry."

In January, Ward pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault in the beating death of the Bradlys' 28-year-old son, Tim, who was killed in 2007 on the rooftop of an abandoned building in West Philadelphia known to squatters as Paradise City.

"It will never be enough," Ward said in her apology. "I can't change my mistakes. And I didn't realize them until it was too late. I'm sorry."

Judge Benjamin Lerner sentenced Ward to nine to 18 months for her role in Bradly's death. Ward, who has been in custody awaiting trial since July 2007, was discharged yesterday with time served.

As part of her plea agreement, Ward, of California, was set to testify that early on June 18, 2007, her boyfriend, Connor McCarthy, 25, repeatedly punched Tim Bradly in the face on the rooftop of the shuttered Croydon Apartments on 49th Street near Locust Street.

When another witness, William "Montana Bill" Pittock, tried to break up the fight, Ward admitted to prosecutors, she attacked him.

Pittock then fled.

After Tim Bradly fell, Ward said, McCarthy told her that he hit him in the head with a cinder block, killing him.

Ward alleged that Bradly had assaulted her sexually that night, sparking the fight.

"We'll never know exactly what happened on that roof," Lerner said, "but what I do know is the charge in this case is the appropriate charge."

Ward's cooperation was "crucial," Assistant District Attorney John Doyle said.

He said her testimony strengthened Pittock's preliminary hearing testimony from January 2008 and "gave us a full admission that Connor McCarthy killed Tim Bradly."

Induced by Ward's cooperation, Doyle said, McCarthy, of Franklin, Venango County, in Western Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in Bradly's death. On Friday, Lerner sentenced McCarthy to 12 to 24 years in prison and five years of probation.

Doyle said the District Attorney's Office made no recommendation on Ward's sentencing.

Ward, who has a 5-year-old son, met McCarthy in spring 2007 in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. In May, she went to Franklin with McCarthy for his sister's wedding.

That June, according to court records, after spending the day together drinking, Bradly, Pittock, McCarthy, and Ward retired to the roof of the abandoned apartment building with three six-packs of beer.

Bradly, of West Deptford, had dropped out of high school at age 17 and hit the road, engaging in a modern hobo culture. His parents said that he would disappear for months at a time and that along the way he became addicted to heroin.

Before imposing sentence, Lerner, who choked up during Peg Bradly's victim-impact statement as she questioned herself for her son's wrong turns, chastised Ward.

"It breaks my heart to hear Mrs. Bradly say . . . 'maybe this is partly my fault,' because I know that's not true. But it is for you."

"You abandoned your child for this cross-country adventure. You were not there for your son. You were here for yourself. But you do have another chance. I hope you get it right this time."

Contact staff writer Kia Gregory at 215-854-2601 or kgregory@phillynews.com.

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