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Chicora man's beating death hearing postponed

| Thursday, April 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

KITTANNING – A preliminary hearing for the four suspects accused in connection with the death of a Chicora man outside a borough bar early St. Patrick's Day was postponed on Wednesday until April 17.

More than 100 people entered the heavily guarded courtroom at the Armstrong County Courthouse for the 1 p.m. hearing. The hearing had been scheduled for the courthouse in anticipation of a crowd and for enhanced security.

After nearly an hour of closed door conversations among counsel, District Judge James Owen returned to the bench to make the announcement.

“I've received a request from the defense counsel that this matter be postponed,” Owen said.

“And the matter is going to be rescheduled for Wednesday, April 17, at 1 p.m. here in this building.”

No explanation was offered for the request of the defense, and those in the audience were told by court officials that there would be no communication with the suspects or attorneys. Owen also would not comment.

The incident in question took place around 1:30 a.m. on March 17 near the parking lot along Monteith Street behind the Wick City Saloon along Orr Avenue.

Dennis Andrew Rosenberger, 27, of Kittanning, is accused by police of running up and “sucker punching” James Sullivan, 39, which reportedly sent Sullivan to the ground where he was knocked unconscious. Otilio Cosme, 43, and Anthony Michael Bove, 18, both of Ford City, and Keith Allen Brison, 32, of Kittanning, then allegedly kicked and stomped Sullivan's body for several seconds until a bystander intervened. Sullivan was pronounced dead less than an hour later at ACMH Hospital.

Cosme, Bove and Brison all face homicide charges and Rosenberger was charged with simple and aggravated assault for his alleged involvement.

When Owen announced the postponement, frustrated sighs emanated from the audience, made up mostly of tearful friends and family of Sullivan and the four suspects.

Bove, the youngest of the accused, wiped away tears as supporters exited the courtroom while the other men lowered their heads or stared blankly ahead before being taken back to Armstrong County Jail.

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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