More serious charges dropped against Penn State players

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Two Penn State football players face
trial next year on misdemeanor charges stemming from an on-campus
fight, but more serious charges were dismissed at a preliminary
hearing Wednesday.

According to the Centre County court administrator's office, a
judge Wednesday ordered defensive tackle Chris Baker and backup
linebacker Navorro Bowman to stand trial on misdemeanor charges of
simple assault and disordery conduct as well as a summary violation
of harassment and stalking.

District Judge Carmine Prestia dismissed one count of felony
aggravated assault against each defendant in connection with the
early morning fight Oct. 7 during a fraternity party at the student
union. One man was treated at the scene after police said he was
hit and kicked a number of times on his face and body.

Centre County Assistant District Attorney Steve Sloane said he
might refile the felony assault charges.

Bowman's attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, said her client acted in
self-defense. Baker's attorney, Karen Muir, said she was glad that
the most serious charge had been dropped but ``we were hopeful that
he would find that Chris wasn't involved at all.''

Baker, 20, of Windsor, Conn., and Bowman, 19, of District
Heights, Md., are both still with the Nittany Lions, though it's
unclear if they play in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29. Both sat out
Penn State's regular-season finale Nov. 17 at Michigan State.

Their trials could start as early as April.