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Kittanning man rejects plea, will stand trial for fatal beating

A 34-year-old Kittanning man charged in the fatal beating of a man outside of a Kittanning bar last year rejected a plea agreement Friday and will go to trial in January.

Wearing jeans and a plaid shirt, Keith Allen Brison appeared before Armstrong County President Judge Kenneth Valasek at the plea hearing on a charge of aggravated assault connected to the death of James Peter Sullivan of Chicora.

“I’ve gone over the plea agreement in detail with my client, and he wants the case to go to trial,” said attorney Jason Lewis, who spent about two hours going over the details of the plea agreement with Brison.

Brison remains on house arrest while he awaits trial on felony counts of aggravated assault, criminal homicide and misdemeanor charges of simple assault and reckless endangerment. Had he accepted the plea agreement, the homicide and misdemeanor charges would have been dropped.

Jury selection for his trial is to begin Jan. 13.

Three other men were charged in the beating death of the 39-year-old victim 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.

Otilio Cosme, 45, of Ford City was sentenced in October to serve 18 months to three years in jail on a misdemeanor charge of involuntary manslaughter. He is appealing that sentence in Superior Court.

Anthony Michael Bove, 20, of Kittanning is scheduled to stand trial on felony charges of homicide and aggravated assault Dec. 8.

Sullivan’s mother, Rose, who has attended every court proceeding connected to her son’s death, was again in the courtroom for Brison’s hearing. She has declined comment after each of the hearings.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or [email protected].


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