An 18-year-old Bridesburg man accused of murder had robbed two acquaintances at gunpoint the night before the killing, stealing cash and cellphones and forcing one man to strip down to his underwear, witnesses at a preliminary hearing said Tuesday.
Robert Diluzio is accused of shooting Daniel Santiago on the 2800 block of Orthodox Street at approximately 1:30 p.m. on July 3.
Santiago, according to witnesses at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, was part of a group that had gone to Diluzio’s house about 12 hours after the robbery to retrieve cell phones.
Diluzio, the witnesses said, robbed two men he knew outside Campbell Square Park at 1:30 a.m. One of the robbery victims was forced to borrow pants from Santiago, who lived nearby and whose mom made fun of the victim.
“He was damn near butt naked,” said Edward Farrell, who was part of a group that watched the robbery unfold.
Farrell said that the group was likely going to beat Diluzio up. But when they got to his house, Diluzio pulled out a gun.
Santiago, Farrell said, believed Diluzio was shooting blanks.
“He said ‘You’re not going to shoot me with that blank gun,'” Farrell said.
While Diluzio did not testify at the hearing, his lawyer, William Bowe argued that because Diluzio never left his front porch and because the group had gone to the house looking for a fight, self defense laws apply.