Hazleton man dies following violent assault

Amanda Christman, Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—A 38-year-old man who was stomped on during a Feb. 13 assault in Hazleton died Thursday.

The Lehigh County Coroner's Office and Forensics Center announced Frantz Orcel's death Monday afternoon. He was pronounced dead Thursday at 4:57 p.m. at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest.

An autopsy followed Monday, during which the coroner's office determined his death was caused by blunt force head injuries. The manner of his death was ruled homicide. The coroner's office said they assisted in the death investigation headed up by Hazleton police. The Luzerne County District Attorney's Office is also assisting.

Orcel was assaulted in the parking lot of 1003 N. Vine St., near West 22nd Street and Route 309 (North Church Street), police said. He was punched on either side of his head and then his head was stomped on three times, court papers state. City patrol officers found him unconscious and bleeding from the head and face after being called to the location for an unresponsive person around 9:30 a.m.

He was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton by ambulance. Medical staff there told police he had injuries that indicated irreparable brain damage. He was later transferred to Cedar Crest.

The assault was captured on video surveillance, as was an argument between the men that occurred prior.

Investigators charged Joshua H. Keziah, 32, Berwick, with a felony count of aggravated assault for the attack on Orcel. He was apprehended at his home without incident Feb. 16 with assistance from the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Briar Creek Twp. police.

Keziah was denied bail by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Zola, Hazleton, and brought to Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Wilkes-Barre, where he remains awaiting a preliminary hearing.

Hazleton police also charged him in a domestic violence case with felonies for strangulation and aggravated assault and a misdemeanor for reckless endangerment.

Contact the writer: achristman@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3584