Berwick man faces criminal homicide in Feb. 13 assault in city

Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.
·2 min read

Feb. 28—A Berwick man who police said was involved in a deadly assault in Hazleton on Feb. 13 is jailed without bail on one count of criminal homicide, Hazleton police said.

Joshua Keziah, 32, who investigators say punched and stomped on 38-year-old Frantz Orcel following an incident in a North Vine Street parking lot, was arraigned Friday before District Judge Joseph Zola on one count of criminal homicide and remains at Luzerne County Correctional Facility, city police said.

Keziah was previously charged with a felony count of aggravated assault for the attack, which was captured on video surveillance following an argument between the two men.

Police responded to a report of an unresponsive male in the parking lot at 1003 N. Vine St., near W. 22nd St. and Route 309, on Feb. 13 for a report of an unresponsive man in the parking lot who was bleeding from the head.

An investigation determined that the male had been assaulted and that his attacker stomped on his head several times, police said.

Orcel was taken to a regional trauma center where he later died as a result of his injuries.

Keziah was apprehended at his home without incident Feb. 16.

Luzerne County District Attorney's Office assisted city police with the investigation.

Keziah faced assault charges in the past. He was charged by Manheim Twp. police and later pleaded guilty to felonies for robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy after a 24-year-old man was found beaten on Feb. 24, 2008, according to court filings. He was also charged with and pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and false imprisonment, misdemeanors, and was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months to 7 years in jail, followed by 2 years probation.

In that case, Keziah was among teenagers who were charged for beating the victim before and after his kidnappers took him to an ATM, where they removed $130 from his back account, according to LancasterOnline.

Then in March 2016, while an inmate at State Correctional Institution in Frackville, he was indicted and later pleaded guilty to sending a threatening letter in October 2015 to the Lancaster County president judge. For that, he was sentenced in federal court, Scranton, to 14 months in prison followed by two years of post-release supervision which required him spending 90 days in a halfway house, according to court papers.

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