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April 27, 2007

Six Penn State football players charged in violent fight

STATE COLLEGE — Six Penn State football players, including stars Anthony Scirrotto and Justin King, turned themselves in Friday to face charges that they barged into a party at an off-campus apartment earlier this month and started a violent fight.

Each player faces at least one felony count of criminal trespass. Scirrotto, a safety, faces the most serious charges, including two other felonies — burglary and criminal solicitation.

Police said Scirrotto got into an altercation with a female friend on a street in State College and then followed three men to the apartment. He called his brother and some friends to get them to join him, but they weren’t let into the party, police said.

Scirrotto then called a fellow football player and met up with a group of players who also arrived at the party, authorities said.

A group of about 10 men, including all six players, then rushed into the apartment and a melee ensued, police said. Some of the victims were punched, one was hit in the head with a beer bottle and knocked unconscious, and another was punched and kicked in the face, authorities said.

Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon declined to comment. The athletic department said it would release a statement Friday afternoon.

Scirrotto was the Big Ten’s leader last year in interceptions and King was one of coach Joe Paterno’s top recruits in 2005.

Christopher Baker, a defensive tackle, was charged with two felony counts, burglary and criminal trespass, plus four related charges.

King; Jerome Hayes, a linebacker; Lydell Sargeant, a cornerback; and Tyrell Sales, a linebacker each was charged with one felony, criminal trespass, plus two related counts.

Two other men, neither of whom is an athlete, were charged with less serious offenses stemming from Scirrotto’s initial argument on the street, police said.

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