It was the "Erin Express" — a day of partying with friends the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day — and Casey Walsh said she and her friends had started at 2 p.m. in a house in Rittenhouse Square.

Twelve hours later, after a pub-crawl around the square, Walsh saw one of her friends, Colin McGovern, 24, of Bucks County, stabbed after making an offhand remark about a stranger's New Jersey Devils sports cap.

Walsh was the prosecution's main witness at Wednesday's preliminary hearing for Steven Simminger, a 40-year-old Delaware County man charged with fatally stabbing McGovern shortly after 2 a.m. March 13.
Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Bradley K. Moss ordered Simminger to stand trial on first- and third-degree murder charges.

Questioned by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Notaristefano, Walsh, 24, fought back tears as she described the confrontation at 19th and Rittenhouse Streets, along the square's southwest corner. Right before the attack, she told the court, she and a female friend were walking a few steps ahead of McGovern and another friend, Sean Boyd.

Then she heard either McGovern or Boyd say: "So you're a Jersey Devils fan."

"I turned around and told them it was stupid, fighting," Walsh told the court. "But they didn't listen."

She said she resumed walking with her friend while the conversation behind them grew louder.

Then she heard Boyd say, "He has a knife," and she looked back.

"I saw Colin come toward us with a round red mark on his chest," Walsh said. "He collapsed and hit his head."

Walsh said she called 911 while Boyd and a female passerby tried to administer aid.

"They had his shirt up. His intestines were out," Walsh said.

Notaristefano said the autopsy showed that McGovern was stabbed 11 times in the chest, abdomen and back.

Another witness, homicide Detective Timothy Scally, narrated a silent video of the incident from an outdoor security camera that contradicted earlier police descriptions of the incident.

Police initially said that after an exchange of words, McGovern and Simminger started swinging and fell to the ground with McGovern on top. At that point, police allege, Simminger drew a knife and began stabbing McGovern.

The video, however, shows both men standing when Simminger takes a swing at McGovern, whose back is toward the camera. McGovern's shoulders rise and his back arches. He lunges toward Simminger and both fall to the ground but Simminger gets up and walks away while McGovern walks toward the camera a blood stain spreading on his shirt.

Simminger, a veteran, was found by police after he went to the Philadelphia VA Medical Center in University City.

Notaristefano said blood-alcohol tests results were not back on McGovern.

Walsh testified that she could not estimate how much McGovern or Boyd had to drink that night. She said she had three beers and three or four shots of liquor in the afternoon but stopped drinking after she got a headache. She said she was sober by the time of the incident.

Correction: This story was revised to correct the last name of witness Case Walsh.

215-854-2985 @joeslobo