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Three sentenced for PNC Park brawl which left guard with amputated finger

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By Adam Brandolph
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 1:21 p.m.

An Allegheny County judge on Tuesday placed three people on probation for a brawl at PNC Park that left a security guard with an amputated finger.

Common Pleas Judge Philip A. Ignelzi sentenced Rachel George, 21, and her father, Christopher George, 51, both of Hempfield, each to two years' probation. Rachel George also received 30 days of house arrest for the May 12 incident.

Her boyfriend, Nick Miller, 24, received 90 days' probation. Miller is jailed at the State Correctional Institution in Greensburg on unrelated charges.

Prosecutors said ballpark security guard Joseph Risher was escorting Rachel George out of the stadium for allegedly smoking in her seat when Miller attacked Risher and ran off.

Rachel George then jumped on Risher's back, and her father pushed the two of them against a section of temporary fencing outside the players' garage exit.

Risher, 51, of Plum, a retired teacher, said the tip of his middle finger on his left hand got caught in the fence and was partially torn off in the struggle. Surgeons that night reattached the finger at Allegheny General Hospital, although doctors had to amputate it two weeks later.

When asked whether the injury impacts his daily life, Risher said: “Absolutely.”

Risher said he has trouble grasping with his hand and constantly massages it to relieve tension. He said the hand became arthritic. Risher said he will be back at PNC Park for Opening Day on April 1 for his 23rd season.

Chuck Porter, Christopher George's lawyer, said his client perceived his daughter was in danger when he shoved Risher.

“This was a freak situation,” he said.

Phil DiLucente, who with James Ecker represented Rachel George, said his client has accepted responsibility “from day 1.”

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky argued for Rachel George be jailed for 30 days.

“These two defendants set in motion a series of events that cost a man a part of his body,” Chernosky said.

The Georges apologized to Risher in brief statements.

“I never meant for that to happen, and I'm sorry,” Christopher George said.

The Georges must pay the Pirates $28,000 in restitution. Neither is permitted at PNC Park while serving their sentences.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or

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