BELLEFONTE — David Adewumi thinks he can’t get a fair trial in Centre County.
The former Penn State student who was arrested last year on charges of stalking a 17-year-old State College Area High School student is representing himself on those charges, as well as additional counts of institutional vandalism and making false reports that he was molested by guards at Centre County Correctional Facility.
He was in court on Thursday asking President Judge Thomas King Kistler to grant a motion to lower his bail and either change the venue of the trial or bring in a jury from elsewhere.
Adewumi, 26, of Lemont, argued his case passionately, but frequently deluged the court with so much information about months of allegations, and with such a rapid-fire patter, that he left the judge and the court reporter confused.
“What are you getting at?” Kistler asked.
The root was that Adewumi believes law enforcement, the Centre County District Attorney’s Office, jail personnel and local media are colluding against him.
He cited “prosecutorial vengeance and vindictiveness” on the part of Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob, and called news reports in local papers, online media and television “slanderous and libelous in nature.”
“But they’re based on the police reports, right?” asked Kistler. Adewumi contended those were slanderous as well.
He wanted jury selection, slated for June 2, to be done elsewhere, saying local jurors could look him up on the Internet and be confronted with reports based on the three different sets of charges that would taint the pool’s opinion of him.
He also opposed a local jury on racial issues.
“It’s constitutionally impossible for a black man to be tried in this county,” he said.
Boob and Kistler both disagreed, saying the motion was premature. Jurors will be interviewed at time of selection, and the issue can be revisited then.
“To my experience, I can only think of one case in which we went to another county, Butler County, and brought back jurors,” said Kistler, who said the county has managed to successfully seat jurors on a number of high-profile murder cases, as well as the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case, without a jury from outside the county.
Adewumi’s request to be released on his own recognizance was also quashed. He argued that incarceration at the very jail where he is accused of vandalism and lying about guard behavior is endangering his life, and that he has been denied treatment for sleep apnea.
Boob countered that Adewumi is in jail after being extradited from California when a bench warrant for his return was issued after a failure to appear in February.
Previous bail was forfeited. His bail is now set at $50,000 monetary.
“He is certainly a flight risk,” he said.
Kistler concurred, dismissing the request.
Lori Falce can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @LoriFalce.