More serious charges dropped against Penn State players

Updated: December 5, 2007, 7:24 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press