The death of a popular baseball coach may have been the result of an argument about whether residents should feed the birds in Pershing Field, according to court testimony.

Charles Lowy, 68, is charged with murder for allegedly stabbing Anthony Bello, 77, twice in the chest on April 15. Officials say one of the stab wounds pierced the retired teacher’s lung, causing his death.

During a Monday detention hearing that spanned nearly 90 minutes, Deputy Public Defender Joseph Russo argued the stabbing was out of self-defense and Bello was the aggressor in the case. His motion to have Lowy, who suffers from severe spinal stenosis, released pending his trial was rejected by Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale.

Lowy was described by his attorney as “the birdman of Pershing Field.” Every day he would fill a small bag of bird food, walk to the park – which is less than one block from his home – and spread the food in a circle around him for the pigeons to eat.

But something went wrong during an early morning confrontation between the two men.

According to one witness interviewed by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, he saw “two old guys roughing it up on the grass” at about 8 a.m. At one point, Bello had his arm around Lowy’s neck and was yelling for someone to call 9-1-1 because Lowry was carrying a knife.

 Russo said, during the hearing, that Bello had previously threatened to file a complaint against Lowy for feeding the birds in the park. Following Bello’s death, his neighbors told The Jersey Journal he hated the park pigeons.

Another apparent witness, who was only identified as a “dog walker” in the park, told a second man interviewed by authorities that the two men were arguing about Lowy feeding the birds. That witness has not given a statement to police.

Those who did provide statements, however, said the suspect had hand tattoos and was wearing a red hoody, blue jeans, and skull rings. A pocket knife was said to be the weapon used in the stabbing.

Assistant Prosecutor Keith Travers said similar clothing and jewelry were found in Lowy’s home when he was arrested. A pocket knife with blood stains was also recovered and testing is being done to confirm it was the blade used in Bello’s killing.

Travers showed pictures of Bello’s hands after he died, pointing that there was no indication he had punched or attacked Lowy first.

Lowy’s attorney described him as a “deeply religious” and “peaceful person” with no criminal record, but DePascale denied a request for release on house arrest.

Russo said he will discuss with Lowy the possibilities of appealing the pretrial detention.


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