Crime

Preliminary hearings heard in Centre County Courthouse

The CDT previously reported on the following individuals who were slated for preliminary hearings Wednesday at the Centre County Courthouse. District Justice Carmine Prestia presided over the hearings.

▪ Kenya Britt, 46, of State College, was charged with felony theft on Dec. 23 after reportedly attempting to take beauty products from the Northland Center Giant. Two prior retail theft offenses resulted in the felony charge.

She waived her right to a hearing. The case moves toward trial.

▪ Jeremy Vasas, 37, of Tyrone, was charged with a felony count of forgery and misdemeanor counts of license violations, unsworn falsification to authorities, false identification and driving under the influence after a Christmas Eve traffic stop in the State College Borough. Vasas reportedly provided police with a false driver’s license.

He waived his right to a hearing. The case moves toward trial.

▪ James Minarchick, 33, of Philipsburg, was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple assault and a summary charge of harassment after a Christmas Eve arrest. He was accused of attacking a woman at his residence after an altercation.

He waived his right to a hearing. The case moves toward trial.

▪ Lawrence Stamps, 45, of Spring Mills, was charged Christmas day with a misdemeanor count of simple assault and summary charges of harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. Stamps had allegedly been in an argument with a woman when he tackled her to the ground.

He waived his right to a hearing. The case moves toward trial.

▪ Steven Willits, 46, of Bellefonte, was charged Friday with a felony count of strangulation, a misdemeanor charge of simple assault and a summary count of harassment after an argument with his wife reportedly turned physical.

The wife testified during the preliminary hearing Wednesday that Willits had been drinking before she arrived home from work that evening and a fight ensued. After threatening to cancel a house purchase with him, she claimed he pushed her down to the ground and choked her with one hand while hitting her with her cell phone with the other hand.

After telling him she would not leave him so he would get off of her, she testified she fled and called the police.

Willits was bound over on all charges. The case moves toward trial.

All individuals arrested are provided the right to a preliminary hearing after they are arraigned by a district judge. The next stage in the case is a pretrial conference, where the person may plead guilty or not guilty, before the case moves to sentencing or a formal trial.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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