BELLEFONTE - Charges were dismissed against four of six Penn State football players involved in an off-campus fracas, but the judge ruled there was enough evidence against two players to order them to stand trial.
District Judge Carmine Prestia ruled there was enough evidence against starting safety Anthony Scirrotto, of West Deptford, N.J., to send his case to trial. Assistant District Attorney Steve Sloane called Scirrotto "the first linchpin of responsibility" for the April 1 apartment fight that sent two people to the hospital.
Prestia also ordered Chris Baker to stand trial on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, simple assault and harassment, but dropped charges of criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
Standout starting cornerback Justin King, of Pittsburgh, had been charged with criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and harassment, but prosecutors said at the start of a preliminary hearing yesterday that they were dropping him from the case because of a lack of evidence.
Prestia dismissed identical charges against Lydell Sargeant, Tyrell Sales and Jerome Hayes at the end of the 8-hour hearing, also citing a lack of evidence.
Bernd Imle Jr., who attended the party, testified that he saw the five others charged by police at the apartment. Imle said he and two friends had run into Scirrotto and his girlfriend on his way to the party, and Imle's friends and Scirrotto began arguing after the girlfriend spit on the street.
There was some pushing and shoving, and Scirrotto repeatedly said he was a football player and would call his teammates, Imle testified.
"In truth, if Mr. Scirrotto didn't do what he did, then none of these kids would be here," Sloane said. "This one person and one stupid mistake . . . has caused more problems than he thought he possibly could have caused."
Imle said he then went to the party, and a short time later a group of men arrived. Baker, a defensive lineman, started punching him, and two other players, Sargeant and Hayes, surrounded him, Imle said.
Scirrotto and Baker are scheduled for a formal arraignment within 30 days, and a trial date would likely be scheduled in early August.
Scirrotto's attorney, Roy Lisko, argued that what occurred in the apartment after the street confrontation was the result of a "pack mentality," and he said there was no evidence that his client harmed anyone. *