The two men accused of running over a University student last month and the man believed to have committed up to five stabbings in the University area will be in court Wednesday morning for preliminary hearings. And they'll probably have company. The University will bus anyone who wants to attend the municipal court hearings to the 18th District Courthouse at 55th and Pine streets. University Council Safety and Security Committee Co-chairperson Jeffrey Jacobson said a University-owned bus will leave the University Police headquarters at 7:45 a.m. for the 8:30 a.m. hearings. He said the hearings are the first two items on the court's agenda. "We want to make a show to the court and the people who come in," Jacobson said. "We want to make a show of solidarity with the students who have been victimized and show people that we're not going to stand for any of these actions happening again." Jacobson said Senior Vice President Marna Whittington approved use of the bus and agreed to provide a second bus if the first one fills up. "We will take as many students as show up," he said. "If 150 people show up, either the bus will run two times or we'll get another bus." Scheduled for hearings are Christopher Turner, 28, of Baltimore, Maryland, and Allan Waters, 23, of the 1300 block of S. Ruby Street. They are facing charges of aggravated assault, robbery and conspiracy for the October 19 robbery of College junior Roberta Koeppel. Also scheduled for a hearing is Wayne Christian, 30, of West Philadelphia. Christian is charged with three counts each of robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and several other crimes. All of the charges stem from three knifepoint robberies Tuesday morning. Two students were stabbed in those robberies. He is also suspected of stabbing two other students and a local man in separate incidents. At the preliminary hearing, the court will only determine if the state has enough evidence to merit going to trial. A trial would not take place for a few months. Jacobson said he has contacted leaders from the Undergraduate Assembly, Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council about gathering students to go to the hearings. STAAR members said yesterday that they are less than enthusiastic about the plan. Executive board member Erica Strohl said yesterday that she thinks publicizing the hearing of Koeppel's alleged attackers violates the wishes of the victim's family. Since the incident, the family has repeatedly tried to make the matter as private as possible. "We don't want to make a huge scene out of this if she doesn't want anyone to," Strohl said. And, she said, a busload of mostly-white students going into a mostly-black neighborhood to show concern about crime could create a "difficult situation." "I definitely feel for Robby Koeppel, and the people who did it should be punished," she said. "But I think sending a bus there can really heighten racial tensions and I think it can really backfire." "Some people in the community could take it wrong," she said. Strohl said STAAR organizers will decide today how to handle the issue. She said the group will probably not encourage members to go and will just let people know the bus is available.Comments powered by Disqus
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