Court documents reveal a weekend attack in Shippensburg Township appears to be a random act of violence.
State police arrested 18-year-olds Kenneth Brown of Ardmore and Connor Marsico of Harrisburg, who is also the eldest son of Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, in connection to a robbery and assault on a 21-year-old man.
Marsico and Brown are Millersville University students and members of the college's football team.
According to the criminal complaint, the victim said he was approached by Brown and Marsico just before 1:30 a.m. as he walked along North Earl Street at Lancaster Drive. The pair asked the victim for directions to Richard Avenue, but instead of taking them and leaving, troopers said Brown punched the victim in the face.
The victim, police said, was knocked to the ground and struck several more times “as he took up the fetal position to defend himself.” His eyeglasses were broken and he discovered his phone, debit card, university ID, gift cards and cash had been stolen.
Troopers said the victim flagged down a Shippensburg University police officer to report the attack. Shortly after, police said they were contacted by a passing motorist who told them he was stopped by a group of young people in a silver BMW looking for directions back to Interstate 81. He said they “specifically asked for a way to get there without passing the Bard Apartments.” The motorist found this strange, and wrote down the BMW's license plate number.
State police later pulled the BMW over for a left lane violation near mile-marker 50 on Interstate 81. The driver, who is not charged, submitted to a search of the vehicle and police said they found the victim's cell phone on the floor board underneath a towel on the passenger side. The wallet was also found wrapped in a Nike sweatshirt underneath the passenger seat, troopers said.
All five people in the car agreed to come in for questioning, police said. The driver of the BMW told troopers when they passed the victim on Earl Street, Brown and Marsico asked him to stop, and “indicated they were going to beat him up.” The driver let them out, but told police he didn't think they would actually go through with it because they'd said similar things in the past but never followed up. When he returned to pick the pair up, the driver said Brown related that he'd “dropped the guy with a punch.” Marsico admitted to kicking him, according to the driver.
Another passenger told police that after leaving Shippensburg, he heard Brown and Marsico talking about being involved in the assault. After they knew they were being pulled over, he said Brown and Marsico began discussing “their need to get their story straight.”
That passenger also said once at the police station, Brown was “upset” that the driver had given consent to search the vehicle.
Police said during Marsico's interview, he at first indicated he did not have knowledge of the assault. He was later confronted about statements he made while in the car, and advised he was not honest in his initial account. Marsico told troopers that he and Brown got out of the vehicle “looking for a fight.” He admitted he was there when Brown punched the victim, and admitted to making a statement in the car that he kicked him — but then denied having actually done it.
Troopers said Brown denied all involvement in the assault.
Brown is charged with robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, theft, conspiracy, criminal mischief and harassment.
Marsico is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, conspiracy and harassment.
Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed has moved Marsico's case to the Office of the Attorney General due to a conflict on interest. Freed is a longtime friend and supporter of Ed Marsico. Freed said Brown's case will stay in Cumberland County. Preliminary hearings for both defendants have been continued at this time; both were scheduled for Monday.
In a statement, Millersville University spokesperson Janet Kacskos said:
“The case of Marsico and Brown has not gone before the Office of Judicial Affairs yet. It was supposed to happen today (Wednesday), but the school was closed due to weather. They hope the case will be looked at this week. This is totally separate from the criminal charges; they will look at the student code of conduct and decide if there was a violation, and what the punishment should be if there was a violation. The office is made up of specially trained judicial staff. The Athletics Department is also looking into the incident and possible punishments separate from the Code of Conduct investigation.”