By David DeKok
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) – A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man was arrested on Monday for criminal homicide after an autopsy on his girlfriend showed she had been beaten and strangled in her Millersville University dorm room, a prosecutor said.
Gregorio Orrostieta, who did not attend the state college about 85 miles west of Philadelphia, had phoned campus police around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday and reported that his girlfriend, Karlie Hall, 18, had suffered cardiac arrest. When police arrived at her dorm room, they found him leaning over her and administering CPR, authorities said.
But his story soon fell apart, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman told a news conference on Monday. Police saw evidence of a violent struggle, noticing blood on his face and hands, he said.
Orrostieta, who lives in Kennett Square, about 40 miles of Philadelphia, admitted to having quarreled with Hall whom he began dating a year earlier in high school, Stedman said. Orrostieta said she had slapped him at a party that night and that the fight resumed when they returned to her room.
He told police he pushed her once, causing her to fall and strike her head. Then, he said, he backhanded her face. Seeing she was unresponsive, he stopped and called police.
But police said their investigation showed other students had heard them fighting about 2:30 a.m. and alerted the resident adviser for the floor, Stedman said. The adviser knocked on the door, but received no answer and went back to bed without calling campus security.
Stedman said Hall, a business administration major from Chadds Ford, about 30 miles outside Philadelphia, had probably been dead for several hours before Orrostieta called campus security at 5:30 a.m. The autopsy showed she had been severely beaten, then strangled.
“It’s a terrible crime, and we will make sure he is held responsible,” Stedman said.
Orrostieta was being held on $1.5 million bail on a single charge of criminal homicide.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Cooney)