A Philadelphia man charged with robbery in State College was denied bail modifications Wednesday at the Centre County Courthouse.
Bilal McGruder, 21, was charged with felony counts of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery stemming from reports of an armed robbery in downtown State College on Sept. 5. Two individuals reported having been robbed at gunpoint, and heard a shot fired after they turned over their property and were leaving the scene.
McGruder turned himself into State College police Sept. 10.
Additional felony robbery and firearms charges were filed against McGruder on Sept. 15 after State College and Penn State police investigations revealed an additional alleged armed robbery on campus on Sept. 5, as well as surveillance footage of McGruder allegedly firing a handgun into the air on Sept. 2.
Defense for McGruder argued Wednesday that he be released on intensive supervision, saying McGruder has no other criminal or drug and alcohol-related history. Defense also assured the court that McGruder would appear to face his charges based on the fact that he voluntarily turned himself in to police.
Representatives of the District Attorney’s Office objected to the modification, pointing out that McGruder is from another county with only “tentative connections” to Centre County. Representatives also argued that McGruder is charged with one of the “most dangerous” crimes in the commonwealth and has refused to surrender the weapon used in the alleged crimes.
District Judge Steven Lachman cited his concern for public safety, given that the handgun has not been turned over and could be used again in a separate crime. He ruled that bail, which was originally set at $250,000, would remain.
McGruder also waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday. A second individual tied to the downtown robbery case — Toure Williams, 20, of Rydal, who allegedly drove McGruder away following the alleged incident — waived his right to a preliminary hearing as well. The cases now move toward trial.