Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Woman Cuts Brother's Testicle With Fingernail During Fight

There are so many puns that could be used here, but Stephanie Farr at the Philadelphia Daily News got there first. In this strange, somewhat twisted fact pattern, it is difficult to tell who is at fault for the bleeding testicle in Upper Providence.

Nicole Hathcock, the alleged nut cutter, had tried to organize an intervention for her brother, Robert Rosenberger. The intervention was staged at her parents' house in order to address Rosenberger's purported rampant drug use, according to the Daily News. The intervention went "very wrong" and the siblings got into a physical fight, at which point Hathcock allegedly used her long fingernails to cut open Rosenberger's testicle.

The testicle required seven stitches, gaining Hathcock an aggravated assault charge and a harassment charge. Would it matter who started the fight when it comes to the criminal charges?

Aggravated assault is when a person uses a weapon or intends to cause serious bodily harm when attacking a person. This is in contrast to simple assault, which is like fisticuffs or hand-to-hand combat.

Harassment, on the other hand, is intentionally targeting another person with behavior that is meant to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize that person. It's likely that someone who is the target of an intervention would certainly feel like they were being harassed.

In Pennsylvania, aggravated assault requires that there be serious bodily injury with reckless regard for human life. Here, it is arguable whether the injury was serious. Sure, seven stitches is a lot, but the injury would not have led to death and could probably have healed on its own. On the other hand, being victim to a nut splitter is a definite weakness for men.

The real question is whether Hathcock had the reckless indifference to human life required for an aggravated assault conviction. We all know that siblings can get into rough fights. However, Hathcock had set up a drug intervention and likely couldn't have been in such a rage to not value human life.

We'll have to wait and see what happens to Nicole Hathcock in Upper Providence, and whether her extra-long nails can be considered weapons in the cutting of her brother's testicle.

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