Penn State students bound over on charges in campus burglary, assault case

Several charges were dropped Wednesday against two of the defendants charged in a reported robbery-assault at a Penn State dorm.

According to Penn State police, an officer was dispatched Nov. 16 to Curtin Hall where a resident reported he had been assaulted and money had been taken. Police identified Emile V. Pitt Jr., 18, of Gaithersburg, Md.; Joseph C. Bird, 18, of Derwood, Md.; and Ayub F. Sayed, 18, of Philadelphia, as having been involved in the incident.

The resident involved testified during the preliminary hearing Wednesday and said he had been alerted to Pitt and Bird’s presence in his room prior to the incident. He went on to say that he called for some additional friends and a roommate to be at the room with him, and that the defendants pushed their way into the room when he opened the door for his friends.

After the first altercation, where the resident claimed Pitt had slapped him “about 30 times,” the defendants left the room, he said, but returned a short while later when Bird allegedly took money from his wallet. The resident said he was later taken to the hospital for his injuries.

A roommate testified to having left a class at the resident’s request for help, and witnessed the money being taken. He also testified to having been thrown onto a bed and struck in the ribs and head, but couldn’t identify the individual who hit him.

According to police testimony, evidence pieced together indicated this person was Sayed.

Penn State police Officer Andrew Stager testified to having interviewed Pitt and Sayed, saying they waived their Miranda rights and acknowledged they had gone to Curtin Hall with the intent to contact the resident. Stager testified that all three are not residents of Curtin, and as such are not authorized to be in the building without an escort.

Stager also testified to having taken the cellphones of all three defendants. When Stager admitted police had not checked the cellphone of the resident, attorney Philip Masorti moved to have the resident’s cellphone taken to preserve evidence, alleging earlier that the resident had sent messages threatening to put Pitt down “permanently.”

District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker, who presided over the hearing, stated she did not believe she had the authority to approve such a motion.

In closing arguments, defense for Bird and Sayed did not deny that their clients had been in the room against authorization, but that there was no evidence that anyone had gone in with the intention of taking money or property.

Gillette-Walker dismissed the two felony robbery charges and the misdemeanor simple assault charge against Bird. He was bound over on felony counts of burglary and criminal trespassing as well as misdemeanor counts of defiant trespassing, receiving stolen property and theft.

Sayed saw the most charges dismissed, as Gillette-Walker dismissed felony conspiracy to commit robbery counts, and counts of burglary, simple assault and conspiracy to commit theft. He was bound over on a felony count of criminal trespassing and charges of defiant trespassing and harassment.

Pitt was bound over on all charges. Masorti attempted to make a bail argument, asking that Pitt’s bail be reduced from $250,000 to $50,000 secured, but was denied by Gillette-Walker. He remains in custody.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews