The boyfriend of a Millersville University student who was found dead in her dormitory is accused of beating and strangling her.
Nineteen-year-old Gregorio Orrostieta was charged with homicide Monday after an investigation revealed his girlfriend, Karlie Hall, died by strangulation and other traumatic injuries, police said.
Hall died in her Bard Hall dorm room early Sunday.
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Police initially charged Orrostieta, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, with aggravated assault after he told them he and Hall, an 18-year-old Millersville freshman, got into a fight -- first at a party and then once the couple was alone inside her dorm room. The charges were upgraded Monday afternoon.
"As a result of Orrostieta's assault, Hall suffered serious bodily injury," reads the criminal complaint from university police.
Police said Orrostieta had blood smeared on his face, blood on his hands and clothes, dried cuts on his forehead and scratches on his chest when officers interviewed him outside of Hall's dorm room around 5 a.m. Sunday. In his booking photo, blood is visible on Orrostieta's face.
Orrostieta was kneeling over Hall, trying to administer CPR when officers entered the room and took over, said police. Medics pronounced Hall dead a short time later. Orrostieta initially told police Hall had gone into cardiac arrest and he had to perform CPR on her. Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman doesn't believe that's true however.
"The CPR I believe was completely fake," Stedman said. "She had been dead for hours probably before that."
Prosecutors said the teen beat and strangled Hall, whose twin sister Kristen also attends Millersville.
Orrostieta, who does not attend Millersville, told investigators Hall struck him during a verbal altercation at the party. Orrostieta said he and Hall made up and returned to her dorm room around 1:30 a.m. Sunday following the argument, the criminal complaint said.
Back in the room, the fight reignited. Other students told police they heard the sound of the two fighting around 2:30 a.m., around the time when police believe Hall died.
"Orrostieta admitted to shoving Hall hard enough to knock her onto the ground where she struck her head on a chair," read the affidavit. Orrostieta told investigators that his girlfriend became unresponsive after he gave her a "back hand" to her face.
Police booked Orrostieta and a judge sent him to Lancaster County Prison on $1.5 million bail.
University counseling staff and campus ministries will be available on campus to talk to students who need assistance. Millersville also announced a vigil in Hall's honor.
A candlelight vigil will be held at 7 p.m. tonight at the SMC Promenade to honor the life of Karlie Hall - 1995-2015. — Millersville U (@millersvilleu) February 9, 2015
University president John Anderson expressed his sadness and condolences over the "unfathomable loss" of Hall.
"I ask that you join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to Karlie’s family and friends," Anderson wrote on the university's website. "If you personally knew Karlie, please accept my heartfelt condolences at this most difficult time."
Hundreds of students attended an outdoor vigil for Hall Monday night at Millersville, an 8,000-student state-owned university. Standing in the rain and holding candles, many of them wept as they sang two hymns and campus minister Dwayne Netzler prayed.
Friends said Hall was a finance major who always appeared happy and often spent her free time going to the gym or feeding ducks at a campus pond.
"I knew that the relationship wasn't that great," said Hall's friend, Trisha Faust, 19, of Emmaus. "It was on-again, off-again."
Molly Gaetano, 19, of Pittsburgh, who lived 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 was set up at Hall's dorm room.
Hall and her twin sister, Kristin, graduated from Unionville High School last June and went to Millersville together, Principal Paula Massanari said. The girls also have an older sister.
Hall was a member of the school rugby club and gay-straight alliance, and she volunteered at an 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."