With State College Police’s findings, Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced that 17 individuals would receive new charges, including 12 who were not charged when investigation findings were released back in May.
“We are absolutely going to try to get a preliminary hearing in as soon as possible,” said Parks Miller, who noted the length, which Parks Miller described as “outrageous,” of the initial process that stretched across the entire summer with preliminary hearings not starting until July.
This time around, the DA wants to combine the preliminary hearings for the newly charged individuals, who she said will be arraigned in the next two weeks, with the individuals whose charges she refiled after the most serious of which were dropped back in September.
“This case has fallen off of its rails in terms of scheduling,” Parks Miller said. “The last prelims spread over many months and is kind of already off track. It needs to be placed back on track so the victims can have some sort of normal closure.”
Parks Miller’s term as Centre County District Attorney ends in January, with the recently elected Bernie Cantorna waiting in the wings.
Part of the issue that plagued the length of the initial hearings was the number of defendants being charged, and therefore the number of defense attorneys there to state their case, which Park Miller acknowledged. But she believes the process still has to be quicker and smoother “logistically” this time.
“This should not be a pre-trial hearing stage for a year. By now these charges should be in had the tape not been deleted and had we not had to go through this refile process or if the prelim had not taken one day over many, many months.”
Parks Miller is confident that this process will lead to a different result than the one that yielded the dismissal of all felonies.
“I don’t predict anything, but we did file a motion that [the last decision]was error of law,” Parks Miller said. “I didn’t come here today to insult the prior judge, but we claimed error of law and we wouldn’t have refiled if we didn’t think [the charges]were 100 percent legitimate.”