Police charge suspect and release details of ‘punch in the park’ that led to death of York man

Kwamiere Bernard Durham

YORK, Pa. – A self styled street rapper is behind bars charged in the death of 25-year-old Oscar D. Cherry, III. Cherry died Tuesday morning at York Hospital. He was rushed to the ER Monday night after he was punched in the head during a verbal argument on the playground at Girard Park.

According to the Criminal Complaint, Police responded to the area of E. Maple Street and Girard Avenue for an assault call inside the park. When they arrived on the scene found a male later identified as Cherry laying unconscious on the basketball court. He had injuries to the back of his head with blood coming from his ears. Officers immediately began CPR until EMS arrived and took over.

Police began their investigation, talking with several people in the area. They learned that Cherry was at the park with kids he was babysitting. Another group of juvenile boys and girls began making fun of Cherry. They also began to throw rocks and sticks at him. At some point Cherry became defensive of the female children he was babysitting and told the juveniles ‘that if they hit the girls with a stick I’ll break it off in your ass’. The offending kids then left the area but a short time later returned with an older male who made have been in his 20’s, and was wearing a white tee shirt and red pants. The older male than asked the juveniles ‘was he the person who hit you’. The juveniles answered ‘yes’. As Cherry began to walk away, the old male punched him in the face. Cherry fell back onto the macadam, striking his head. The older male and the juveniles then ran away. Police also found that there was possible cell phone video of the incident prior to the assault.

City detectives told over the investigation of the incident and were told Cherry was on life support. They were given information ab out the cell phone video from the responding officer. Detectives then cell phone from its owner and downloaded the video. The video confirmed the harassment of Cherry by the juveniles, did not record the actual assault.

Detectives then went to the hospital to speak to family members of Cherry. They obtained information about a possible suspect known as “KD Gusto” who had a Facebook page. Returning to the station Detectives looked up “KD Gusto” and identified the suspect as 18-year-old Kwamiere Bernard Durham.

Tuesday morning Detectives went to Durham’s last known address and located him inside his family home. They were invited inside and Durham came down from upstairs. When police identified themselves and said that they needed to speak to him about the incident in the park, Durham quickly said that “I didn’t hit him that hard”. Detectives then asked that he come with them to the police station to be interviewed.

At the police station, was advised of his rights and agreed to speak to Detectives. He said that he was at his Aunt’s house on Girarad Avenue when his two juvenile cousins came to the house and told him that some man hit them in the park. Durham with his two cousins went back to the park. He saw Cherry standing on the lower basketball court. Durham said that he knew Cherry from around the streets. He said that Cherry was holding a stick and looked as if he was going to hit other juveniles that were standing nearby. He then walked up to Cherry and asked, “Why did he hit his cousin”. Cherry did not say anything in response. Durham then hit Cherry in the face or forehead and he fell back onto the macadam hitting the back of his head. Durham said that he heard a loud sound when it hit. He then got worried and ran away. Police asked Durham if he had rendered aid to Cherry and Durham said no.

Just before Noon, police learned that Cherry had died at 10:30 a.m Tuesday morning. Then after speaking to the District Attorney’s Office, police charged Durham with Criminal Homicide and Aggravated Assault in the death of Oscar Cherry.

Kwamiere Durham is being held without bail at York County Prison.