The man accused of beating a Birmingham Township couple as they slept waived his right to a hearing and will likely await trial in prison or in a mental health facility.
Mario L. Banegas, who turned 21 on Feb. 8, is charged with beating Kenneth Mark Joseph and Elyse Seidner-Joseph with an aluminum baseball bat the couple kept in their Roundlay Drive bedroom.
Banegas was living with the Josephs, both in their 40s, since summer of 2005. According to attorneys in the case, the couple was serving as informal, surrogate foster parents.
The announcement of the hearing being waived came after a closed courtroom session in which Kenneth Joseph and Banegas had a chance to speak privately "as father and son," said Assistant District Attorney Charles Gaza.
Gaza said the matter would go to arraignment, then a trial, after a mental health evaluation to assure defendant's competency.
"There's no issue as to what happened or who did it," Gaza said.
Treva Hall, the defense attorney during Monday's session, said the Joseph's were serving as surrogate parents, though there was no formal court ruling on that relationship. She said they took him in to look after him.
No dates for arraignment or trial were set, and hall said the arraignment might be at the prison. Banegas has been incarcerated at Chester County Prison since the Jan. 26 incident.
She added that the defendant would await trial in prison or at a mental health facility. According to Hall, there is a question regarding Banegas' mental competency, but she did not elaborate.
Birmingham Township police were called to the Joseph home shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 26.
In an arrest affidavit, Patrolman Matthew Simcox said he found an unknown male, later identified as Banegas, shirtless, with blood on his face, body and blue jeans.
Banegas reportedly told the officer that there were people hurt inside the house. The officer entered the home and found the victims, covered in blood, lying on the floor.
According to the affidavit, they told the officer that they were in bed asleep when Banegas entered their bedroom, picked up a baseball bat kept near the door and struck them.
There was a large amount of blood in the bedroom, a hallway leading to the kitchen and on a spiral stairway, the report said.
Banegas faces two felony counts of aggravated assault, and eight misdemeanor counts.