Former Cal U. hockey players headed to trial

August 26, 2013
Steven Powell, front, accompanied by attorney David Shrager, and Jesse Powell, accompanied by attorney Guy Amatangelo, exit the office of District Judge Josh Kanalis after a court appearance in May. The brothers were back in court Monday for their preliminary hearing. - Emily Harger / Observer Reporter

Two brothers who played hockey for California University of Pennsylvania are heading to trial on charges they had marijuana brought in from the state of California.

Steven John Powell, 23, and Jesse Powell, 19, both of Baldwin, waived their right to a preliminary hearing Monday before District Judge Joshua Kanalis.

They were arrested in April by state police on charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities after allegedly making arrangements to have marijuana delivered to their off-campus residence.

A U.S. postal inspector in Pittsburgh had been notified of a package that smelled of marijuana. The package with a return address of Guernersville, Calif., was addressed to Steven Powell at his off-campus home at 256 Second St., California.

The package was delivered to the Second Street address. Steven Powell, who was under surveillance, was seen picking up the package after it had been delivered, police said.

State police obtained a search warrant. They said marijuana was found in Steven Powell’s room, along with packaging material, a grinder and other paraphernalia. Police said they also found more than $13,800. Plastic bags containing marijuana, paraphernalia and $192 were found in the room occupied by Jesse Powell, according to police.

David J. Shrager, who represented Steven Powell, said after the hearing that the decision was made to waive the hearings for both brothers because the burden was quite low for the commonwealth in making a case at the magisterial level.

“We felt it was in their best interests to address this in Common Pleas Court,” Shrager said.

There has been no firm offer to the brothers and their attorneys regarding a plea deal, he added.

Neither brother is currently enrolled at Cal U., Shrager said, adding that the college is waiting on the outcome of the case.

“They do desire to continue their education,” the attorney said. “Going elsewhere is an option.”

Both are free on $25,000 unsecured bond.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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