MILLERSVILLE, Pa. — The boyfriend of a student found dead in a Pennsylvania university dormitory room was covered in blood and performing CPR when campus police arrived, according to an arrest affidavit.
Gregorio Orrostieta, 19, told officers early Sunday he shoved Millersville University freshman Karlie Hall, 18, causing her to fall to the ground and hit her head on a chair, and then gave her a “back hand” to the face, causing her to become unresponsive, the affidavit said.
Orrostieta was arraigned Monday on an aggravated assault charge and is jailed in lieu of $1.5 million bail. He did not have a lawyer at the hearing. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19.
Orrostieta, who did not attend Millersville, told police he and Hall had argued at a party Saturday night and made up before returning to the dorm and arguing again, according to the affidavit.
“I knew that the relationship wasn’t that great,” Hall’s friend, Trisha Faust, 19, of Emmaus, said. “It was on again, off again.”
The Lancaster County District Attorney scheduled a press conference with the university’s police chief and administrators for Monday afternoon.
In a note to students, Millersville president John Anderson called Hall’s death “unfathomable.”
The university’s communications director, Janet Kacskos, said Hall’s death had shaken the 8,000-student state-owned university near Lancaster.
School counselors met with grieving students for nearly 16 hours on Sunday and would be available throughout the week, Kacskos said.
“We’ve never had this happen. We’re a pretty bucolic, rural campus. Very safe,” Kacskos said.
Friends described Hall as a finance major who always appeared happy, and often spent her free time on campus going to the gym or feeding ducks at a campus pond.
Molly Gaetano, 19, of Pittsburgh, who lives two doors down from Hall on the second floor of the three-story dormitory, said she last spoke to her Friday.
“She never talked bad about anyone. She was always smiling and cheerful,” Gaetano said.
A memorial with flowers and cards has been set up at Hall’s dorm room, she said.
“It’s hard to be up there, but everybody deals with it in different ways,” Taylor Erb, 18, of Mount Joy, said.
Orrostieta and Hall were from neighboring Philadelphia suburbs.
Police responding to a cardiac arrest call to the Bard Hall dormitory found Hall unresponsive around 5:20 a.m. Sunday, according to the affidavit and a university statement.
Orrostieta, of Kennett Square, told officers he and Hall, of Chadds Ford, had argued a few hours earlier at a party and that she had hit him, according to the affidavit.
He said they made up and returned to the dorm room around 1:30 a.m., the affidavit said.
When officers arrived nearly four hours later, according to the affidavit, Orrostieta had blood smeared on his face and a dried cut on his forehead.
His shirt was ripped, exposing scratch marks on his chest, and he had blood on his hands and jeans, the affidavit said.
Hall’s cause of death is under investigation. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
Hall and her twin sister, Kristin, graduated from Unionville High School last June, the same school as their mother and older sister, and went to Millersville together, Principal Paula Massanari said.
“She had a twin sister and those sisters appeared to be inseparable and appeared to be really good friends,” Massanari told The Associated Press.
Hall was a member of the school rugby club, gay-straight alliance and volunteered at a local animal shelter, Massanari said. She was described in a college recommendation letter as a “hard-working” student, who was working a part-time job to help offset the cost of college.
“This has certainly hit our school community very hard,” Massanari said. “We are devastated by the loss.”