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Allegheny County District Attorney's Office takes over investigation of death of Penn State student in Oakland

By Margaret Harding
Monday, April 8, 2013, 11:46 p.m.
 

Editor's note:

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office investigated and decided there was nothing criminal about the incident and declined to charge anyone. In a story published June 12, 2013, the DA's office said this:

“Following an extensive review of the evidence, which included video of the accident from cameras in the vicinity and interviews with all the individuals involved, our office has concluded at this time that the circumstances do not merit criminal charges against anyone who was present at the time of the accident,” office spokesman Mike Manko said in a written statement.

---

Original story:

Investigators sorting through conflicting stories about the death of a Penn State University student in Oakland turned over their case to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office to decide on charges.

“I'm not going to comment until a determination is made on charges,” acting Cmdr. Kevin Kraus said on Monday. “It has to be reviewed. I'm not going to speculate in the media whether it's a homicide or an accident.”

District Attorney spokesman Mike Manko said it is too early to comment on the investigation.

Friends of Cody Barrasse, 22, of Moosic in Lackawanna County told police a motorist intentionally ran his BMW into Barrasse on Bates Street near Argyle Way about 2:15 a.m. Saturday. Barrasse, who police said had been drinking, suffered severe head trauma and died on Sunday in UPMC Presbyterian. The friends, identified in a police report as Christopher Quinn and Kevin Burke, both 22, appeared to be intoxicated, police said. Both men declined comment.

The driver, identified in the report as Bryan Jovanovich, 27, of the South Side Slopes, drove away and called police from 18th and Sarah streets in the South Side to report the accident. Both he and his passenger told officers the car was headed up Bates when it approached three men in the street, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. Jovanovich said he stopped to avoid hitting them. He said the three surrounded the car and started pounding on the hood and roof and one of them opened a car door before he drove away. Jovanovich showed no signs of impairment, police said.

He declined comment. He has not been charged.

Barrasse, a Penn State finance senior, was set to graduate in May, school spokeswoman Lisa Powers said. His parents, Lackawanna County Common Pleas Judge Michael Barrasse and Dr. Linda D'Andrea Barrasse, did not return a message seeking comment.

Nancy Barrasse, a Scranton attorney, described her nephew as a gifted athlete who was committed to his studies. He planned to attend law school but knew he would miss Penn State, she said.

“He was a very caring young man, very attentive to his family and friends,” she said. “There are not enough words to express how loved Cody was and how we knew he loved us.”

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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