One of prosecutor Brian McMonagle’s greatest fans is a man he has put behind bars – twice.
Abdul Rasheed, 40, also known as Charles Fields, first became a McMonagle fan a few months ago. That’s when McMonagle prosecuted Rasheed for rape and won a conviction and an eight-year jail term.At that time, Rasheed told McMonagle: “I really like you. I want you to do my homicide case.”
Since then, McMonagle has been reassigned from the rape division to the homicide unit, and, as fate would have it, he was ordered to try Rasheed for the murder of Thaddeus Garback, 62, on June 22, 1986.
When Rasheed, of Greene Street near Manheim, walked into the courtroom and saw McMonagle again, he smiled and said, “This must be my lucky day.”
Throughout the jury trial, Rasheed repeatedly leaned over to McMonagle and told him what a good job he was doing.
“You want this one really bad, don’t you?” Rasheed asked McMonagle before closing arguments.
“Yes, I do,” replied the prosecutor. “Because you killed an older man and you didn’t have a right to do that.”
After McMonagle made his closing argument, Rasheed told him, “You did a nice job.”
McMonagle’s brother, Gary, who was sitting in the courtroom, asked, “Wasn’t that the defendant?”
“Yes,” smiled the prosecutor.
The jury was also impressed by McMonagle’s arguments. Rasheed was convicted of second-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy.
Before Common Pleas Judge Theodore A. McKee sentenced Rasheed to a life prison term, plus 15 to 30 years, the defendant had one last comment.
“This is all a lie,” he said. “The system is a lie.”
McMonagle said Rasheed beat Garback to death at Germantown Avenue and Collum Street while the victim was collecting beer cans for recycling.