Trio accused of kidnapping and assaulting a woman in Arnold are headed to trial
A New Kensington woman accused with two others of kidnapping and torturing another woman said the charges against her are false and she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Stephanie Renee Unruh, 30, of Victoria Avenue, New Kensington, said she hardly knows the other defendants and the alleged victim is making up the incident.
Unruh is accused, along with Michael Joseph Battaglia, 41, of 16th Street, Arnold, and Devon Hamilton, 25, of Clay Avenue, Mt. Pleasant of kidnapping to inflict injury or terror and aggravated assault.
The three waived their right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday and will be arraigned in front of Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway on November 21.
Police accuse the defendants of kidnapping Angel Mangol , 21, no permanent address, on Sept. 9. According to arrest papers, the three "stripped her of her clothes and dragged her downstairs to the basement."
Mangol allegedly was tied to a post and repeatedly punched in the head and face by Battaglia, before the three also struck her in the head with a broom handle.
The victim told police the three left, and she was able to untie herself and hide in the basement briefly until they came back and found her, only to tie her up with a rope around her neck, torso, arms and legs.
Mangol said Hamilton used a lit cigarette to burn her chest.
According to police, the three again left the woman alone and she fell asleep. On Sunday morning, Mangol was able to get free and run to a neighbor's house, police said.
However, according to Unruh, the charges levied against the three defendants were completely fabricated by Mangol, who she said had been dating Battaglia until just before the alleged incident occurred.
"I barely know (Battaglia), I only met him a couple of times. I just happened to be there that evening and I think (Mangol) just wanted his house to herself and that's why she's been doing all of this," Unruh said.
Unruh further claimed Mangol has been staying in Battaglia's residence since his arrest and without his permission.
As he was entering the courtroom on Thursday, Battaglia said, "I didn't do nothing."
Mary Lasko, 47, of New Kensington, said she has known Battaglia for years, and, though he has at times struggled with addiction, she said he isn't the kind of person that Mangol alleges.
"Michael wouldn't do that. And, if he had punched her in the face, her whole face would have been broken," Lasko said.
Hamilton and Battaglia are being held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of a $50,000 bond each. Unruh was released on bond shortly after her arrest.
Mangol, who was present for Thursday's scheduled hearing, rushed into the district judge's office without speaking to reporters.
Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @matthew_medsger.