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Published: Tuesday, 1/29/2008

Neighbor describes terror: Crash victim's dad broke in with gun, court told

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Charles Fackelman, who is with his wife, Janet, is accused of pointing a loaded gun at Randy Krell. Krell was convicted in a 2006 accident that killed Mr. Fackelman's son, 17-year-old Charlie Fackelman. Yesterday the prosecution rested its case in Monroe County Circuit Court. The trial resumes today. Charles Fackelman, who is with his wife, Janet, is accused of pointing a loaded gun at Randy Krell. Krell was convicted in a 2006 accident that killed Mr. Fackelman's son, 17-year-old Charlie Fackelman. Yesterday the prosecution rested its case in Monroe County Circuit Court. The trial resumes today.
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MONROE - A neighbor of Randy Krell testified yesterday that the locked door of his Lambertville home was knocked down by a gun-wielding Charles Fackelman as he hunted for Krell, who had fled to the house for help.

Testifying during Mr. Fackelman's trial in Monroe County Circuit Court, Thomas Williams said he was on the telephone with 911 when he heard his front door being knocked loose from its wooden frame.

Seconds earlier, Mr. Krell entered the home, slammed the door, and locked the deadbolt to escape the pursuing gunman.

"I was terrified," Mr. Williams said about the March 28 incident at his home on Lois Drive in Bedford Township.

Mr. Fackelman of Toledo is charged with two counts of felonious assault after he was accused of pointing a loaded gun at Krell and Mr. Williams, and one count each of home invasion and possession of a firearm.

A former Bedford Public Schools board member, Krell was convicted in June of negligent homicide for a road-rage accident in which Mr. Fackelman's 17-year-old son, Charlie Fackelman, was killed and another teenager was hurt seriously.

The June 15, 2006, incident began after a teenager threw a water bottle at Krell's car and Krell drove after the vehicle. The chase ended when the driver, Austin Oberle, then 16, went through an intersection and hit a tree.

In opening statements yesterday, defense attorney Asad Farah told the jury that the teenager's tragic death was the catalyst for a mental breakdown suffered by his client and that Mr. Fackelman was legally insane when he showed up at Krell's home.

Mr. Farah said Mr. Fackelman was devastated by the loss of his son, who was a varsity player on the Whitmer High School baseball team.

"His son was everything he wasn't. His death, in essence, was his death," Mr. Farah said.

He told jurors that the defendant attended the opening home game of his son's old team the day before the incident and stared at the player at the position his son would have played.

But Kenneth Simon, a Wayne County assistant prosecutor who is trying the case, said evidence and testimony given by witnesses will show that Mr. Fackelman knew exactly what he was doing that day and he was able to distinguish right from wrong.

Mr. Simon also urged the panel of 12 jurors and two alternates to put aside their emotions in listening to the evidence.

"You should be able to have a verdict that reflects the case, not reflect the emotions of the case," he said.

Krell, who is serving a nine-month jail sentence, testified that Mr. Fackelman pulled into his driveway and Krell went to the car because he believed it was somebody else.

Krell said the defendant pulled out a semiautomatic handgun as he got out of the car and told him: "We are going to end this," and that the gunman threatened, "I'll drop you there" after Krell balked at his demand to go to the backyard of Krell's house.

Krell testified that Mr. Fackelman pulled the slide back on the handgun to send a cartridge into the chamber.

During the questioning, jurors watched a video of the confrontation from the security system at the Krell residence, which the victim installed a month earlier.

With the defendant behind him, Krell went across the street to Mr. Williams' home.

Both Krell and Mr. Williams testified that Krell closed and locked the door and Krell yelled at his neighbor: "Call 911. He has a gun."

Krell said he went to a back room in the house and slipped out the rear door after Mr. Fackelman entered the home. Mr. Williams said the defendant pointed the loaded gun at him, knocked the telephone from his hand, and walked into several rooms in search of Krell.

Mr. Williams said he attempted to flee out the front door when he encountered Mr. Fackelman in the living room. He said the defendant unloaded the bullet from the chamber after Mr. Williams raised concerns about having a loaded weapon in the house. Mr. Fackelman then left.

Margaret Mercurio, the mother of Mr. Fackelman, testified that her son came to her home in Toledo later that evening and hid a handgun in the register of a heating duct. She said she and the defendant's brother, Eric Fackelman, later went to a quarry where her son discarded the gun.

The prosecution rested its case late yesterday.

The trial, which is being heard by Judge Joseph Costello, Jr., is set to resume today when Mr. Farah is expected to call several witnesses.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 734-241-3610.



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