By Andrew Kutzer
A 23-year-old KU student was stabbed in the neck and ribs when a fight erupted near 77 Stimmel Alley in Kutztown. According to police, the fight took place after he warned a man urinating in public about police citations around 12:45 a.m. on Feb. 20.
A Philadelphia man, arrested on Feb. 26, faces attempted murder charges, according to the criminal complaint.
Responding to a 911 call, Kutztown officers arrived at an apartment building on 43 Noble St., finding the student bleeding profusely. Doctors later found two stab wounds, causing lacerations to the throat and a collapsed lung with lacerations to the liver, according to the complaint.
“We feel that the facts and circumstances in this case indicate that he was potentially trying to kill this person,” said Berks County Assistant District Attorney Jason Glessner.
“This was an isolated incident. This could have been any of us,” said SGB President Joe Scoboria at a student government meeting on Feb. 23.
On Feb. 20, the student and witnesses left a party at 81 Noble St., heading toward Stimmel Alley. During this time, they reported seeing a male dressed in all gray, later identified as John Karcher, urinating against a garage.
The student told the man, “It’s not the best idea because the cops give citations for [public urination] all the time.”
Two other males were reportedly standing on the other side of the street. One of them, wearing a red shirt and khakis, would later be identified as Robert Centifanti, 18, of Philadelphia. The other man was identified as Frank Nolan, according to court records.
Centifanti responded, “You have a problem?” The student replied, “I don’t have a problem, I just don’t want him to get in trouble,” according to the complaint.
Centifanti came at the victim, throwing a punch and the two fought. Witnesses reported seeing him repeatedly knock the student to the ground and saying, “That’s how we do it in Philly.”
After the fight ended, Centifanti left with Nolan and Karcher toward a parking lot located at 22 S. White Oak St., according to records.
Karcher told police that Centifanti showed him a black handled bloodied knife and reported that Centifanti said he had a knife but didn’t believe he had stabbed him, according to the complaint.
Witnesses with the student reported that he was taken to the apartment at Noble St. after discovering he was bleeding heavily from his chest and called 911, according to the complaint.
Borough officer Sgt. Raymond Schell found the student with his upper chest covered in blood and gave medical care to wounds at the base of his neck and on the side of the rib cage, according to records.
Paramedics arrived and provided medical care, and transported the student to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest Hospital emergency room, according to the complaint.
Centifanti has been charged with attempted murder in the first and third degree, two counts of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment. Centifanti posted bail in the amount of $50,000 on Feb. 26, according to court records.
“On his behalf, I’m going to pursue an independent investigation. There is a very good chance we are going to have a full hearing and have witnesses testify,” said Andrea Mertz, Centifanti’s defense attorney.
“I think we need to remember to keep looking out for each other on the weekends when we’re out… and really hope that something like this doesn’t happen again. It was a real tragedy,” said Scoboria.
Police released surveillance videos asking public assistance in identifying the three suspects. Video and picture shared through the media led to public tips aiding the police in identifying Centifanti and Karcher, according to the complaint.
Two other suspects seen in surveillance videos have not been charged at this time, according to Glessner.
The student remains in serious condition and his family does not wish to release his identity at this time.
Information about the crime was obtained by the keystone from the magistrate in Fleetwood.