Trial set after victim testifies to assault in State College

A man accused of choking and punching an 18-year-old girl on a State College street is heading to trial.

District Justice Leslie Dutchcot bound Sean Urbain, 20, over on charges of aggravated assault, a felony, and misdemeanor counts of simple assault and reckless endangerment following a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The victim, Christianna Smith, was emotional on the witness stand as she spoke about the Feb. 1 incident. Smith said she was walking back to her car with two friends after a party when Urbain and another man tried to convince them to go to another party at their fraternity. When the girls declined, Urbain became hostile. One of Smith’s friends argued with him while Smith and the other headed toward the car. As the argument escalated, she said she sent one friend to the car with her keys while she went back to defuse the situation.

Instead, it rapidly escalated.

“Everything was too close and it scared me,” said Smith. “The next thing I know, I was getting strangled. I was on the ground and he had both hands around my throat.”

Urbain’s friend had left. Smith’s friend was beating the attacker with her shoe to get him to let go while Smith clawed at his hands. Then he let go with his right hand, still holding her with the left, and punched her in the face. Then he let go and ran off, Smith’s friend chasing him down.

“I just sat there, alone, bleeding,” she said.

At the hospital, doctors worked on her broken nose and lacerated face. She had reconstructive surgery. Most difficult has been damage to her eye. Smith said she now needs to have brain surgery to correct damaged nerves from the attack that left her unable to see out of her right eye and sometimes affect the left eye.

Defense attorney Sean McGraw tried to ask questions about Smith’s size and strength, but the prosecution objected.

“She testified she was strong,” said McGraw.

“She also testified she couldn’t get his hands off her neck. Overruled,” said Dutchcot.

Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob asked to have bail increased from $25,000 unsecured due to the serious nature of the crime and the fact that Urbain, a New Jersey native, fled the scene after the incident. Dutchcot agreed, calling the attack “uncontrolled, rash, wild and baseless.” She increased it to $100,000 straight bail.

Urbain was incarcerated after being unable to post bail.