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Mistrial called in Fayette biting case

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Fayette County judge granted a mistrial Tuesday in the case of a Scottdale man accused of biting a teenage girl on the neck in 2011.

Ira White, 42, is charged with indecent assault, harassment, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors in the Oct. 5 incident.

He is accused of pressing the then 14-year-old girl up against a wall outside the Morrell Volunteer Fire Department in Dunbar Township, then biting her.

On Tuesday, assistant public defender Mike Garofalo objected as a state trooper was testifying.

Senior Judge Ralph Warman granted Garofalo's request for a mistrial.

Garofalo referred questions about what led to his request to assistant district attorney Meghann Mikluscak.

She declined to elaborate on what testimony was being presented at the time.

“We plan on retrying the case in a timely fashion,” Mikluscak said.

Earlier in the day, the alleged victim, now 16, told the jury what she said occurred during a bingo bash.

The Tribune-Review does not identify alleged victims of indecent assault.

The girl said she was working at the bingo bash and stepped outside to get some air.

White, whom she had seen inside the hall, soon came outside, she said.

“He came at me. I heard footsteps. I didn't have time to react and he was right there. He took my arms, put them up against the wall with his hands on my wrists,” she said.

The girl said she tried to free herself and fell to the ground.

She said she thought White was trying to help her up, but she said he again pressed her against the wall.

“He latched onto the right side of my neck and he bit me,” she said.

“I kept telling him to stop and let go. I was crying. He eventually let go of me,” she said.

As the girl headed toward the door, she said he again grabbed her by the arm.

“He said, ‘Don't tell,'” she said.

The girl said she was scared and did not immediately tell her mother, who was inside the fire hall, what had happened.

“Did you do anything at all to draw attention? Did you kick him? Punch him?” Garofalo asked.

The girl said there was no one outside to help her.

White also returned to the bingo hall, she said.

“You didn't shout and scream, say ‘That's the guy'? ‘This is the guy who did this to me?'” Garofalo asked.

The girl said she did not want to cause a scene.

Her mother also testified, stating that her daughter was shaking and that she noticed red marks on her neck.

Eventually her daughter told her she had been attacked, and they went to the Uniontown state police barracks, the woman said.

Trooper Mark Bigler interviewed the girl and testified that she was “nervous and scared.”

“There seemed to be a bite or sucker mark on her neck,” he said.

Trooper Nathaniel Lieberum was on the stand when Garofalo requested the mistrial, Mikluscak said.

White is free on $10,000 bond.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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