State College

Man found not guilty of felony charge related to stabbing; convicted on lesser charges

The lawyer for a man accused of stabbing another in April 2014 asked a jury to consider his client’s testimony during closing statements at the conclusion of a two-day trial Thursday evening.

“Essentially, it comes down to this,” attorney Philip Masorti said. “Do you believe him?”

The jury did, in part, after deliberating for more than three hours. They found Brandon Frick, 22, of Roaring Spring, not guilty of three of the five charges he faced, including the most serious charge of felony aggravated assault. He was convicted of simple assault and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors, and found him not guilty of making terroristic threats and possessing an instrument of crime.

Frick was suspected by State College police of stabbing a man during an early morning altercation on April 12, 2014. Frick and his girlfriend traveled to State College for the Blue-White Game. They arrived the evening before at 220 E. Foster Ave. in State College, where they planned to stay the weekend in the apartment of friends. There was a party at the home, where alcohol was consumed.

After most of the partygoers left, a fight began between two men at the apartment and one of Frick’s friends, William Stranburg.

Stranburg, Frick and another resident of the apartment, Robert Donaldson, all brandished knives and expelled the others from the building, based on written and verbal statements to the police.

One of the men sustained a wound to the back and the other called police.

Frick maintained the injury was accidental. Stranburg and Donaldson were also charged, both with making terroristic threats, possessing an instrument of crime and reckless endangerment. They are awaiting trial.

Donaldson testified at the trial and said he heard Frick say he thought he accidentally stabbed someone.

Stranburg did not testify but made an appearance to plead his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob prosecuted the case. Boob said the case was a matter of Frick’s “actions speaking louder than his words,” and pointed to Frick’s behavior after the incident. Frick rinsed blood off the knife, put it in a box of Raisin Bran and lied to police, Boob said.

State College Detective Chris Weaver testified that Frick first told him he did not have a knife and was acting as a mediator between the others. A second interview and a written statement by Frick said he grabbed a knife, which was not his, from a table but didn’t indicate he’d accidentally stabbed anyone. It was not until a third interview, when others indicated that he had his knife, that Frick stated that he thought he’d hurt someone, Weaver said.

Frick testified the man fell backward on the knife and the blades were only brandished to “motivate” the others to leave, not to hurt them in any way.

“It was an accident I didn’t want to happen and that’s the bottom line,” he said. Frick said he “panicked” and washed the knife off and put it in the Raisin Bran box.

Masorti said Frick was a “fantastic young man” that made some bad decisions.

“We accept the jury’s verdict as being fair given the evidence that they heard,” he said.

Grine scheduled sentencing for March 5.