SCRANTON — Two men charged with the murder of a Lackawanna College student were in court Friday in Scranton along with family members of the victim.
It was preliminary hearing for Ryan Harding, 18, and Marlon Clotter, 22, both from Scranton.
Both men are charged with first degree murder for the shooting death of Lackawanna College student Rahsan Crowder in May.
A magistrate decided that there is enough evidence to move the case to trial. That decision was met with applause from Crowder’s family who filled the courtroom.
Latoni Crowder may have planned for her next trip from Harrisburg to Scranton to be to drop her son off for the fall semester at Lackawanna College. But instead, it became more of a pilgrimage to the spot on Vine Street where her son Rahsan was shot and killed in May.
“I said, ‘Rahsan, there’s too much going on in Harrisburg for you to stay here, you have to go back and finish your degree.’ He laughed and said to me the last time we talked, he said ‘I know I’m about to be 23 but if it takes me three more years I’m going to finish college.’ He said ‘I’m going to do it, Mom.’”
Rahsan Crowder was killed a little more than a month shy of his 23rd birthday, shot twice on his way home from a party in Scranton’s hill section.
Ryan Harding of Scranton was caught in New York State a week later and charged with murder. He’s accused of pulling the trigger.
Marlon Clotter was also charged with murder. He’s accused of supplying the gun and telling his friend Harding to shoot.
Police say the two men were at a party with Crowder. Two other people who were at that party on Monroe Avenue testified that Crowder was shot because he looked at Harding the wrong way.
They also testified that when Crowder was shot in the chest just outside his dorm on Vine Street, that a crowd of 20 people scattered.
Defense attorneys contend this was a fight that came to an unfortunate end.
“You have one person who loses their life, and the other has to defend their own accordingly. And I really think that, given everything that was going on and given the situation and circumstances, you’ve got a kid here, and he is a kid, who is just in a bad situation,” said Harding’s defense attorney Bernie Brown.
But Latoni Crowder says her son was not a fighter, that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. She says his dream was to coach football and influence other young men to better themselves, something mom hopes her son’s story can still do.
“Whatever happens, their parents get more than I get. I go to the graveyard to visit my son. They’ll go to a state correctional facility in Pennsylvania to visit their sons. And they can still hold their hands, and they can talk to them. That’s more than I get. I will never, they took that from me,” Crowder said.
The Crowder family says they plan to be in Scranton for the rest of Harding and Clotter’s court appearances.
A date for their trial has not been set.