Defense attorney accuses witness in Mayfair tire-slashing case

Posted: January 31, 2014

PHILADELPHIA Since being charged with being the Mayfair tire slasher in April 2012, David Toledo and his wife have received death threats and had to flee the Aldine Street house they had bought a year earlier and were remodeling.

On Wednesday, as Toledo's trial began in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, his attorney insisted that police got the wrong man.

William J. Brennan Jr. told the jury that the prosecution's lead witness was a more likely suspect than the 46-year-old butcher. Brennan said "the lack of evidence is overwhelming" and blamed Toledo's arrest on pressure by police officials to solve the case.

Despite not having eyewitnesses who saw Toledo in the act, Assistant District Attorney Lauren McHale told the jury the evidence will prove Toledo was the slasher.

McHale said Toledo flattened the tires of more than 50 vehicles - including his own - to mislead investigators and let him court television cameras as an outraged citizen.

Much of Wednesday's testimony involved neighbor Anthony Hainsworth.

Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Tracie Gaydos, Hainsworth said that when the vandalism began in January 2012 he started patrolling an area bounded by Frankford Avenue and Aldine, Walker, and Teesdale Streets.

Hainsworth said he was out seven days a week, from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., until April 16, 2012, when Toledo was arrested.

But during a testy hour of questioning, Brennan suggested that Hainsworth, whom he called a "self-appointed patroller" who ingratiated himself with beat cops, was a more likely suspect than Toledo. Brennan said Hainsworth was out alone night after night when tires were slashed: two nights in January, two in February, three in March, and the last on April 16.

Toledo joined him on patrol on two nights, in early January and April 16, Brennan noted.

Before dawn April 16, Brennan said, Hainsworth and Toledo split up and the first two vandalized cars were reported to police by Hainsworth alone.

Hainsworth acknowledged to Brennan that he took a knife with a three-inch blade on his patrols.

And on the night Hainsworth and Toledo were taken in for questioning, Brennan said, Hainsworth made a point of telling detectives that his fingerprints were on two of the vandalized cars.

"It was common sense," Hainsworth replied. He said he removed his gloves to text police. He said he forgot to put them back on and steadied himself on the cars as he stooped to check the tires.

Hainsworth also denied there was any bad blood between him and Toledo, though he complained when Toledo and his fiancee moved in and got married in a block party.

"I was mad," Hainsworth testified. "I have a special-needs child and his car blocked emergency access."

215-854-2985 @joeslobo

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