PERKIOMEN —  A Perkiomen man must answer to charges in Montgomery County Court that he allegedly killed his girlfriend and used his cellphone to record her injured and lifeless body during the attack.

Nicholas Alexander Forman was held for trial on Tuesday after a preliminary hearing before District Court Judge Albert J. Augustine on charges of first- and third-degree murder in connection with the alleged Feb. 3 beating death of 23-year-old Sabrina Harooni, of Gilbertsville.

The hearing was held via a video-conferencing system in order to comply with social distancing orders during the coronavirus pandemic. All of the parties, including Forman who was at the county jail, were linked by video technology from their offices or homes.

Forman, 23, of the 900 block of Hamilton Road, wore a red protective mask throughout the hearing. Forman will remain in the county jail without bail while awaiting trial.

County Assistant District Attorney Tonya Lupinacci, assistant chief of trials, called three witnesses during the hearing, Pottstown Detective Heather Long, State Police Trooper Richard W. Sanzick Jr., of the Skippack barracks, and county Detective John Wittenberger.

Defense lawyer Michael A. John, who represents Forman, argued prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence to support charge of first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing, and asked that the charge be dismissed.

Augustine denied John’s request, ruling Lupinacci presented sufficient evidence to move all charges to trial.

Long testified the investigation of Forman began about 11:23 a.m. Feb. 3 when officials at Pottstown Hospital Tower Health notified Pottstown police that an unresponsive Harooni arrived at the emergency department in an Uber with Forman. Long testified that after Harooni was pronounced dead in the emergency room she viewed injuries to Harooni’s neck, face and head.

“There was bruising around her chin and neck as well as there were two abrasions to the left hip region of her body and her face was, at that time, rather swollen,” Long testified as she identified photographs of the injuries that Lupinacci presented as evidence during the hearing.

Under questioning by John, Long testified Forman cooperated and consented to allow Long to look at his cellphone, which prosecutors alleged contained an incriminating photograph of an injured Harooni.

Sanzick testified he spoke with a nurse who was the first person who tried to administer life-saving measures to Harooni as she lay in the backseat of the Uber vehicle upon arrival at the hospital.

“She immediately felt for a pulse and did not feel a pulse and indicated that upon checking for a pulse the first thing she noticed was that this female was extremely cold. She described her as ice cold to the touch. She also observed bruising about her neck and chin area. She indicated the victim’s lips were blue and her skin was very pale,” Sanzick testified. “She observed the pupils to be, what she described as blown…she indicated that it was sometimes associated with trauma.”

Sanzick testified the nurse also observed Forman while medical personnel were attempting to revive Harooni.

“She described him as being calm throughout the ordeal. That was her main description of him,” Sanzick testified. “During the time that I was talking to Mr. Forman he remained calm, pretty much the entire time.”

During cross examination of Sanzick, John attempted to decipher if detectives inquired of Forman if he was under the influence of medication or drugs or was being treated for a mental illness at the time of the incident. Lupinacci objected that the questions went beyond her direct examination and Sanzick was not permitted to answer John’s questions at this time.

Wittenberger testified an autopsy determined Harooni’s cause of death to be “asphyxia, strangulation and multiple blunt force injuries.”

Forman, according to testimony, told investigators that he and Harooni had dated about seven months and went to PJ Whelihan’s Pub in Oaks on Feb. 2 to watch the Super Bowl. Forman allegedly said the couple summoned an Uber driver about 10:07 p.m. to take them back to Forman’s Perkiomen residence.

Sanzick testified the Uber driver told detectives that during the drive Harooni joked about receiving a text message from an ex-boyfriend and Forman repeatedly demanded to see the message but Harooni refused.

“The driver indicated that the female said a few times, the phrase, ‘You’re scaring me’ as this argument was escalating,” Sanzick testified.

The driver, according to testimony, added he observed Forman and Harooni continue the argument on the driveway of the Perkiomen residence and he waited nearby about 10 minutes until he could not hear any more shouting.

“He indicated that he was concerned that the argument was continuing and he contemplated calling the police. During his interview he made the statement he wished he had called the police,” Sanzick testified.

Sanzick testified when detectives searched Forman’s cellphone they uncovered a 13-second audio and video recording on Forman’s cellphone, recorded at 11:58 p.m. Feb. 2, that depicted Harooni, traces of blood on her face, lying unresponsive on a grassy area believed to be outside Forman’s Perkiomen residence.

In the recording, a male voice is heard stating, “This is what a cheating liar gets. You hear me? Cheating (expletive) liar,” as well as several other obscenities, Sanzick testified.

“Her body was motionless for the entire length of the video. There was no movement at all of her body,” Sanzick testified.

The cellphone also contained a photograph of an injured Harooni lying face down on the floor of Forman’s bedroom at about 2:23 a.m. Feb. 3, testimony revealed.

Sanzick testified detectives found clumps of hair, allegedly consistent with Harooni’s, near the driveway of the residence and in the doorway leading into the residence. Detectives also observed bloodstains on a carpet and on a pillow case and bedsheet in Forman’s bedroom, according to testimony.

Forman allegedly claimed he woke up about 8:45 a.m. Feb. 3 and took an Uber to go to a hearing in Limerick district court where he had to answer to drug-related charges stemming from a previous alleged Upper Providence incident. Forman claimed when he returned home at 10 a.m. he checked on Harooni, realized Harooni was unresponsive so he summoned an Uber driver to take them to the hospital, according to court papers. Forman claimed Harooni was still breathing when he took her to the hospital.

Sanzick testified detectives observed a cut on Forman’s right hand and discoloration to his knuckles when they interviewed him.

“The injuries observed to the victim Sabrina Harooni indicated that she was the victim of an assault. These injuries to Mr. Forman’s hands are consistent with being in an assault,” Sanzick testified.

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