Stabbing earns ex-Penn State student a Centre County jail term

Senior Judge David E. Grine mentioned a similar case he presided over about 10 years ago after sentencing a man on assault and reckless endangerment charges Friday.

Grine sentenced Brandon Frick, 22, to eight to 231/2 months in Centre County prison in relation to a stabbing incident during the weekend of the 2014 Blue-White game. The defendant in the previous case got 5-10 years in state prison, Grine said.

“I know you think jail time is tough, but it could have been a lot worse,” Grine said.

Frick was charged with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor simple assault, making terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and possessing an instrument of crime in April 2014. Frick, then a student at Penn State Altoona, and his girlfriend traveled to State College for the game and an altercation broke out in the home they were staying in after a party, police said.

Frick and two other men, William Stranburg and Robert Donaldson, brandished knives and expelled two men from the building, based on written and verbal statements to the police. During the incident, one of the men sustained a wound to his back that required medical attention.

Stranburg and Donaldson were also charged, both with making terroristic threats, possessing an instrument of crime and reckless endangerment. Both cases are still open, according to court documents.

Frick stood trial before Grine in early January. The jury returned guilty verdicts on the simple assault and reckless endangerment charges, but acquitted him on the others.

Frick’s attorney, Philip Masorti, asked the judge for a sentence of probation. He pointed out that Frick was acquitted of the more serious charges and didn’t intend to hurt anyone. Frick testified at the trial that the injury was accidental, the knives were meant only to “motivate” the others to leave and the injury was sustained when the man fell backward on the blade.

Masorti also told the judge that Frick demonstrated good character over the course of his life and, before sentencing, presented the judge with a document containing character statements from those who knew him and outlined Frick’s education and activity in volunteer service.

“I would easily say he’s among the top three people I’ve had the privilege of representing in my lengthy career,” Masorti told the judge.

Assistant District Attorney Nathan Boob said Frick’s actions after the incident also are indicative of his character. Frick didn’t get help for the injured person and ran, Boob said. He washed blood from the knife, hid it in a box of cereal and lied to police during the investigation, he added.

“This man decided to plunge a knife in another man’s flesh in a part of his body that could cause serious injury,” Boob said.

Boob recommended a sentence of 11 to 231/2 months in jail.

Grine said he chose the sentence because a lesser one would take away from the seriousness of the crime. Frick also was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and about $16,000 in restitution.

Masorti said he plans to appeal the sentence and some rulings made at the time of trial.