Penn State

Snipers, helicopters and a waived hearing

BELLEFONTE -- It’s an unusual morning when snipers are stationed on the roof of any small-town building. 

Yet here, in the geographic middle of Pennsylvania, two gazed intently, awaiting Jerry Sandusky’s arrival at the Centre County Courthouse. Fifteen more police offers guarded the barricaded entrance. 

The extra security began arriving at 5:45 a.m. Most officers envisioned themselves leaving well after 5 p.m. Less than five minutes after the 8:30 a.m. scheduled start time, Sandusky left the courthouse flanked by attorney Joe Amendola.

Sandusky waived his preliminary hearing this morning.

On his way home, he offered a quick sound bite with a football twist. Wearing a dark suit and red tie, he quietly told a group of photographers he plans on staying the course for four full quarters. He then walked gingerly into a black BMW SUV driven by Amendola. 

A woman, who only identified herself as knowing children involved in The Second Mile, jeered Sandusky as the BMW pulled away. Camera clicks made her voice inaudible. 

An exhaustive day of chilling testimony and impassioned responses never materialized. 

No mobs formed outside the courthouse. Media members outnumbered onlookers by a hearty margin. The Westboro Baptist Church never made its way to Bellefonte. Football haters -- and lovers -- stayed away. 

No Mike McQueary. No Tim Curley. No surprise witnesses. 

Reporters scrambled to find stories about something that never started. In reality, they descended upon Bellefonte for no reason.  

Alleged victim’s attorneys granted interviews outside the courthouse. Amendola answered dozens of questions. 

Some reporters completed their news gathering by 10:30 a.m. So much for a 12-hour day. Nobody prepared for nothing. 

The morning had a cordial tone. The police and media engaged in small talk. Restaurants and cafes opened early. Bellefonte looked its early-morning best, with frost covering the courthouse lawn and the roofs of historic buildings. The borough’s cleanliness and charm impressed hardened reporters. 

Everybody was bracing for a draining day. All they got was frostbite.