The fifth and final defendant in the assault of a Southeast Missouri State University junior pleaded not guilty recently at a hearing at the Cape Girardeau County Courthouse, where Circuit Court Judge Benjamin F. Lewis set the case for trial.
A jury will hear the case against Antonio Garritano, 20, charged with first-degree burglary, a felony and misdemeanor assault, March 1.
Garritano of Cape Girardeau allegedly broke into a residence on Dunklin Street and assaulted fellow Southeast student Blake Carlton, severely bruising on his face. Testimony given by Carlton at Garritano's preliminary hearing May 19 indicated he had to be hospitalized and couldn't remember how many people assaulted him.
Carlton, sleeping on a couch at the time of the Dec. 13 assault, also testified that he didn't see any of the people who entered the home.
The case has been continued in court since May due to Garritano being hospitalized and recovering from an illness.
Brett Jones, another Southeast student charged in the case who was sentenced in May to one year probation, told the court that he witnessed Garritano hit Carlton in the head up to 15 times.
Three others charged in connection to the assault -- Derek Gohn, Pili Showers and Jared Goodson -- were sentenced to serve time in jail in June. Gohn and Showers served five days in jail, and Goodson served seven days. All pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor theft.
According to the most recent directory at Southeast, Garritano and Showers are no longer students at the university. Jones, Gohn and Goodson were listed in the directory as current students.
1325 Dunklin St., Cape Girardeau, MO