3 men charged with homicide in beating death in Kittanning

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Thursday, March 21, 2013, 1:26 a.m.

Police on Wednesday arrested three men in the beating death of a man early Sunday morning on a Kittanning street.

Keith Allen Brison, 32, of Kittanning; Otilio Cosme, 43, of Ford City; and Anthony Michael Bove, 18, of Ford City were charged with homicide and related charges in the death of James Peter Sullivan, 39, of Chicora, Butler County.

All three were arraigned before District Judge James Owen and sent to the Armstrong County Jail without bond.

Police previously charged Dennis Andrew Rosenberger, 27, of Kittanning with simple assault and aggravated assault stemming from the fight along Montieth Street shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday.

State police Lt. Steve Ignatz said Wednesday's arrests were made after the coroner determined the injury that Rosenberger caused to Sullivan was not fatal.

Ignatz said an investigation by state and Kittanning police determined Brison, Cosme and Bove caused the injuries that resulted in Sullivan's death.

Police said the investigation included interviewing hundreds of people and sifting through social media posts.

According to arrest papers, Sullivan left the Wick City Saloon on Orr Avenue to escort several women to their cars. He became involved in an argument with Cosme, police said.

On Montieth Street, Rosenberger allegedly ran up to Sullivan and punched Sullivan in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement, knocking him unconscious.

According to the charges read by Owen during separate arraignments for Brison and Cosme, the men kicked Sullivan while he was unconscious and motionless, contributing to his death.

Sullivan suffered three broken ribs, a skull fracture and a tear in his inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the right atrium of the heart.

During their back-to-back arraignments, Brison and Cosme chatted with police.

“How can I be charged with something I didn't do?” Brison said. “My life could be ruined.

“If I have a public defender, I'm going to get fried.”

Cosme said he wanted to go home. He said he could not have done everything he is being charged with, and that others were involved.

“There's no way I did all that,” he said. “This is crazy. I didn't start nothing.”

“They attacked me over and over again,” he said. “What the (expletive) are you supposed to do?”

In addition to homicide, Brison, Cosme and Bove are charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and harassment.

Owen scheduled preliminary hearings for Brison and Cosme for 9 a.m. March 27.

Bove was arraigned later and information was not available late Wednesday.

There was discussion that for security reasons the hearings may be moved from Owen's office to the Armstrong County Courthouse.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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