Wednesday, September 18, 2019


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Defendant in Bender Case Arraigned and Remanded to Jail
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            The Pike Township man accused of killing Bill Bender was arraigned Thursday morning in Red Hill. District Judge Maureen Coggins set bail in the case against

Steven Bernard Rokita, left, walking into District Court

with his attorney, Matthew Randazzo on Thurday


Steven Bernard Rokita, 50, at $100,000 monetary.

            However, Rokita won't be permitted to leave jail until a Berks County parole detainer is removed even if he posts that amount, according to Coggins.

            Rokita, accused of causing the accident that led to Bender's death on Route 663 in Upper Hanover on July 23 and fleeing the scene, turned himself in before appearing for the 22-minute hearing, which included several members of Bender's family and friends in the audience.

            He left in the custody of two uniformed state troopers to be processed, then detained at the Montgomery County jail, according Trooper Brad Furlong, the arresting officer.

            The defendant faces second and third-degree felony counts of accidents involving death or personal injury and accident where the victim dies, one misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia and seven summary offenses that include attempting to pass on the right, follow too closely, failure to drive at a safe speed, careless driving, failure to stop and provide his information or render aid, failure to notify police and giving false information to authorities, according to police criminal complaint filed at the court.

            Rokita could face a maximum sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted of the second-degree felony and 3 ½ to seven years on the third-degree felony, according to Coggins.

            A preliminary hearing in the case before the same judge has been scheduled for Sept. 25. However, Furlong informed the family and friends that the hearing would likely be postponed to so law enforcement officials could prepare their case.

            Kathleen Alane McLaughlin, of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, will prosecute the case, according to information posted on a state judicial website.

            Matthew Louis Razzano, a Philadelphia lawyer, defended Rokita in the hearing.





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