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Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, was among five prosecution witnesses testifying yesterday in the trial of three Boston men charged with the combat zone stabbing of Andrew P. Puopolo '77.
Epps said a trip to the Combat Zone following the football team's annual end-of-the-season dinner has been a longstanding tradition at Harvard.
Two members of the football team, Malcolm M. DeCamp '79 and Russel T. Savage '78, gave their impressions of the events leading up to the stabbing of Puopolo on November 16, 1976.
Henry F. Owens, attorney for Richard S. Allen, one of the defendants, repeatedly tried to show that DeCamp's testimony conflicted with his earlier statements to a police investigator.
DeCamp's statements discussed his early impression that a group of football players had "cornered" one of the defendants, and that Puopolo had later "jumped" the same defendant.
The group of football players had not cornered the defendant, but had merely followed him until he backed himself up against a wall, according to DeCamp.
He added that his use of the word "jumped" to describe how Puopolo later approached the defendant was imprecise, repeating several times that a lack of sleep and "poor choice of words" in a police interview the morning after the stabbing had caused any discrepancy in his statements.
DeCamp's description of the evening matched closely that of Chester E. Stone, equipment manager for the football team, who also testified yesterday.
Tempers flared between Suffolk County Superior Court Judge James C. Roy and two of the defense attorneys, Owens and Wallace W. Sherwood, on several occasions during yesterday's proceedings.
Owens said yesterday that "Roy's actions speak for themselves" referring to his judicial courtroom decisions. "He's known as the 13th juror," Owens added.
The prosecution will call to the stand today a witness who observed the stabbing from a nearby subway station, a source close to the defense said yesterday.
The witness may testify that he saw the alleged murder weapon in the hand of Leon Easterling, one of the defendants, immediately before the stabbing, the source said.
Andrew P. Puopolo, father of the slain student, also testified yesterday.
Allen, Easterling, and Edward J. Soares, the defendants, face life sentences if convicted of first-degree murder.
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