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Former Derry Twp. fugitive has bond revoked as victims wait to testify

Paul Peirce
| Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, 3:12 p.m.

After spending three days hospitalized for a broken jaw she suffered in October when she was severely beaten during a tenant grievance hearing in Derry Township, Alyssa Farabaugh wasn't looking forward to seeing her alleged assailant again.

But 70 days after the 19-year-old woman and Westmoreland County's assistant solicitor, Tim Andrews, were brutally beaten at the Oct. 25 proceeding, both victims were ready to testify at a preliminary hearing Wednesday for Kevin W. Cole, 32, of Derry Township.

“I know I have to testify. I don't want this to ever happen to anyone else,” Farabaugh said.

She also wants to see justice served.

“I want to see him stay in jail for a very long time,” she said.

The scheduled hearing was continued because Cole had not yet hired an attorney. But he briefly appeared in court to tell District Judge Mark Bilik that he was still trying to hire one with the help of family members.

Cole, who fled to North Carolina after the alleged attack, was returned to the county jail Dec. 14. Bilik admonished him, saying he had plenty of time to apply for a public defender but had not done so.

He also criticized Cole for not phoning court officials to tell them he wasn't prepared for the hearing to move the case forward.

“I want to be represented by an attorney. I'd like to postpone this hearing,” Cole repeated to Bilik.

When Cole indicated that he wasn't sure he could make a phone call to court offices from jail, he admitted to Bilik that he did try to call a bail bondsman in an attempt to secure the $100,000 bond.

District Attorney John Peck immediately asked Bilik to revoke any bond conditions for Cole because “he is a flight risk and has an extensive criminal history.”

“I was going to turn myself in the day I was arrested in North Carolina,” Cole responded.

Bilik approved Peck's motion and remanded Cole to the county jail. A new date for the preliminary hearing was not set.

Cole, handcuffed and shackled, initially declined to comment on the charges as deputies led him out of Bilik's office to a sheriff's car. But, as he got into the back seat, he said he was “not guilty.”

Cole attacked Farabaugh, who was a witness at his eviction hearing, just before the proceeding started, then fled, troopers said. Andrews, who was serving as the hearing officer, was beaten as he tried to intervene.

Farabaugh told the Tribune-Review Wednesday that she still has to make trips to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh to check the condition of her jaw, which was broken in two places. She still has soreness and bleeding from stitches and can't chew solid foods on the right side of her mouth, she said.

Still, she vowed to testify at Cole's next hearing date.

“I feel I have to do it,” she said.

Andrews suffered a broken nose, a cut on his left ear that required three stitches, a 2-inch laceration on his lip and numerous bruises in the assault, state police said.

Cole is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment.

He has previous convictions for robbery and assault in Westmoreland County.

Cole was arrested on a felony fugitive warrant Oct. 28 by the North Carolina Highway Patrol in Johnston County, N.C.

State troopers there received a tip that Cole and an unidentified woman were driving south on Interstate 95 near Smithfield, where authorities located him. He reportedly surrendered after driving off the highway and down a dead end road.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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