SHAMOKIN - A preliminary hearing for an 18-year-old Shamokin man police claim is the leader of the local "Goon Squad" was postponed Tuesday morning at the request of the arresting officer.

Ryan Forte, of 18 S. Market St., Apt. 1, Shamokin, never left Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury after officials there were notified that his hearing before Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III had been postponed at the request of Patrolman William Miner, who was unavailable.

No new date has been scheduled.

Forte was among five charged Thursday in connection with the assault of 18-year-old Keith "KC" Long, of Shamokin, at 12:43 p.m. Feb. 23 in the 400 block of East Independence Street near the Knights of Columbus building. He is charged with felonies of aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and riot, and misdemeanors of simple assault and disorderly conduct.

Forte, Gage Cossari, 16, and Chad Lytle, 17, are accused of assaulting Long, who suffered a broken nose, a cut on his lower lip that required five stitches, four damaged teeth, broken braces and severe facial swelling that required emergency room treatment at Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital and follow-up care by an orthodontist.

Lytle, who remains in juvenile custody, was charged with the same offenses as Forte. Cossari was charged with aggravated assault, riot, simple assault and disorderly conduct charges.

Seth Lytle, 15, and Kyle Lytle, 14, both of Shamokin, were charged with riot and disorderly conduct.

The three Lytle teens, who are brothers, and Cossari were charged through juvenile petitions.

At his arraignment last week, Forte and two of his friends disputed the charges and claimed the defendant was only defending himself in what they called a fair fight with Long.

Gembic set bail in the case at $100,000 cash, which Forte was unable to post.

Forte, who requested to be released on his own recognizance, told the judge he had no prior criminal record and wasn't looking for any trouble when the fight occurred. But a relative of Forte, who preferred not to be identified, told a reporter Tuesday morning that he had an extensive criminal record as a juvenile.

She said Forte was born in Monroe County in the Poconos, but moved at a very young age to Puerto Rico, where he lived until the age of 8. She claimed Forte then lived in Daytona Beach, Fla., before moving to Shamokin in December.