LANCASTER – Three men accused of trying to murder a man in an east Lancaster home and then confronting strangers at the Antelope Valley Mall, in a separate, racially-motivated attack, were ordered to stand trial Tuesday.
Charles Earl Thompson, 42, James Steven Fallon, 36, and Charles Ward Marvin, 43, face charges of attempted murder, burglary and assault. Thompson and Fallon are also charged with a hate crime and assault, sheriff’s officials said.
The charges stem from two separate incidents on June 9, 2012.
In the first incident, the men stormed a Lancaster home and stomped, kicked and pistol whipped a man as he begged for his life, according to testimony given at the preliminary hearing Tuesday.
The victim, Edward Donato, testified that he was at his girlfriend’s home on 8th Street East in Lancaster when the men came by around 7 p.m. on June 9.
Charles Marvin, who is the estranged husband of Donato’s girlfriend, began frantically knocking on the door, Donato testified. He said he told Marvin to go away.
“I told him I’m gonna call the police,” Donato said.
Donato said he walked away from the door to call authorities, but before he could do so, the door was kicked open and James Fallon entered with a gun.
“I panicked and ran out the back door,” Donato said.
He said Fallon caught up to him and pistol whipped him over the head before dragging him back to the patio. Then Charles Thompson joined in and began choking him and beating him, Donato testified.
“As I was on the ground, I was being stomped and hit,” Donato said.
Donato testified that Marvin pulled out a knife and said he was “God in this town,” before threatening to kill him.
Donato said he pleaded for his life and tried to negotiate with the men by telling them he would leave the state.
“I wanted Charles [Marvin] to think he could have his wife back,” Donato testified.
Donato said the men stopped beating him and left because they thought authorities were on their way.
Prosecutor Ted Swanson entered into evidence four photos of Donato taken after the alleged assault.
In describing the photos, Donato said his right eye was black and swollen shut, his lip was busted and there were shoeprints on his right cheek and on his forehead.
“My face is completely and totally destroyed,” Donato said.
Approximately one hour later, the three men went to the Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, and Fallon and Thompson allegedly confronted two Black men in the parking lot, used racial slurs toward the two victims, and chased the victims while holding pocket knives, sheriff’s officials said.
At the preliminary hearing Tuesday, Palmdale Sheriff’s deputy Raymundo Wilson testified that he responded to a call from mall security around 8 p.m.
Wilson said, once on the scene, he saw a man (later identified as Thompson) throwing away a knife. Wilson said he asked Thompson about the altercation, and Thompson denied being involved and was cooperative at first. But then Thompson became angry when he realized he was being detained, Wilson testified.
“He started saying my people killed his sister and started calling me a n**ger,” Wilson said.
Thompson used the slur about five to six times and said “take the handcuffs off me and I will kick your ass,” Wilson testified.
Wilson said he put Thompson in the back of the patrol car and then Thompson kicked out the back window.
Wilson said he also detained Fallon and Marvin a short time later, when witnesses and mall security identified them as the other two involved in the altercation.
Wilson, who referenced his police report during his testimony, said the victims were leaving the mall when Thompson starting hurling racial slurs at one of men and challenged the man to a fight.
“Thompson called him the n-word… he told him ‘come over here boy’ and challenged him to a fight,” Wilson said.
Wilson said, when the other victim intervened, Thompson took out a knife. Thompson and Fallon chased the men while hurling racial slurs and threats, Wilson testified.
Wilson said mall security responded before the attack got physical.
Two knives and a loaded firearm were recovered from the three suspects’ vehicle, sheriff’s officials said.
Defense attorneys for all three men argued Tuesday that their clients should not be charged with attempted murder because there was no intent to murder Edward Donato. They were unsuccessful, and Marvin, Thompson and Fallon were held to answer on all charges and enhancements.
Marvin was ordered back to custody on $1 million bail, James Fallon on $2 million bail, and Charles Thompson on $1,250,00 bail.
The men are due back in court on Aug. 14.