Ford City man jailed for beating death appealing sentence
A 45-year-old Ford City man serving jail time for his role in the fatal beating of James Peter Sullivan in Kittanning last year wants to be released on bail while he appeals his sentence in Superior Court.
A shackled Otilio Cosme, accompanied by his attorney, Anthony G. Urti, sought an application for bail in a hearing Wednesday before Judge James Panchik. Family members of the 39-year-old victim were present in the courtroom.
“I think Mr. Cosme has proven he is not a flight risk and is not a danger to the community,” Urti told the court.
Urti asked the court to allow his client to be released on $25,000 bail pending the appeal.
Cosme, who is married with three stepchildren, testified in a quiet voice that he had been steadily employed for 11 years before his arrest in March.
“My wife didn’t work,” he said, adding that his family has zero income and is facing eviction. “My wife is six months behind in rent.”
On Oct. 9, Cosme was sentenced to serve 18 months to three years on a misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter after earlier entering an “Alford plea” — in which he pleaded guilty while maintaining his innocence.
At the time of his sentencing, Panchik denied Urti’s request to credit Cosme for the 16 months spent on house arrest leading up to sentencing. However, he did credit Cosme for the 72 days he served in jail following his arrest.
On Wednesday, Cosme testified that his job was terminated during those days in jail and that a motion in December requesting his release from house arrest to find another job was denied.
District Attorney Scott Andreassi said the Commonwealth was opposed to Cosme’s request for bail.
“He entered his guilty plea,” Andreassi said. “It was the same as admitting guilt and he is now convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The appeal of bail is entirely at the discretion of the court. We would suggest it is inappropriate.”
Panchik said he would take time to deliberate before ruling on the bail request.
Three other men were charged in the beating death of Sullivan outside the Wick City Saloon on St. Patrick’s Day last year:
• Dennis Andrew Rosenberger, 29, of Ford City was sentenced in September to serve three to six years in a state prison on a felony charge of aggravated assault and a misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter.
• Keith Allen Brison, 34, of Kittanning is expected to plead guilty Friday to a felony charge of aggravated assault.
• Anthony Michael Bove, 20, of Kittanning is scheduled to stand trial on felony charges of homicide and aggravated assault Dec. 8.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].