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Ernie Popchik was a World War II veteran living in the Aunt May's boarding home. He was spotted by Peter Parker in Manhattan, just after he cashed his social security check and was shopping in the city. A moment later he was assaulted and bruised by a street gang, but he was promptly rescued by Spider-Man and taken to the hospital to check for concussion. He later attended with May and Peter the public criminal hearing where the assailants, defended by Matt Murdock, were released on their own recognizance by Judge Horace Rosenthal[1].
He couldn't believe the judge let them go without bail, but as soon as he left the court, the Sin Eater appeared in the streets and he ran for cover, assisting Aunt May while Spider-Man made the killer flee[2].
Some days later, he shot three teenagers who harassed him on a subway train, and then turned himself in, claiming it was self-defense, even though the boys weren't armed. Matt Murdock made sure to provide him a lawyer for free[3].

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