NORRISTOWN — The Perkiomen man accused of killing his girlfriend and using his cellphone to record her injured and lifeless body claims he is indigent and now has a court-appointed lawyer.

Montgomery County Judge Thomas C. Branca appointed Norristown criminal defense lawyer Michael A. John to represent Nicholas Alexander Forman, who faces charges of first- and third-degree murder in connection with the alleged Feb. 3 death of 23-year-old Sabrina Harooni, of Gilbertsville.

John was appointed to represent Forman after Carrie Lynn Allman, the chief homicide lawyer for the Montgomery County Office of Public Defender, notified Branca that she currently is handling 10 other homicide cases. Allman requested that “outside counsel be appointed” for Forman.

In court papers, Allman did say that Forman “is indigent, and in need of legal services” and had requested the services of the public defender’s office.

John was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

Forman, 23, of the 900 block of Hamilton Road, is awaiting a preliminary hearing on the homicide-related charges before District Court Judge Albert J. Augustine. That hearing, originally scheduled for Feb. 12, has been postponed.

An investigation of Forman began about 11:28 a.m. Feb. 3 when officials at Pottstown Hospital Tower Health notified Pottstown police that Harooni arrived at the emergency department in an Uber with Forman and she was suffering from injuries to her neck, face and head.

“The victim was cold to the touch, with blue lips and not breathing,” county Detective John Wittenberger and state police Trooper Richard W. Sanzick Jr. wrote in the arrest affidavit, adding Harooni subsequently was pronounced dead.

Doctors told detectives Harooni’s body temperature was no more than 79 degrees and her pupils were “blown out,” which is indicative of head trauma or lack of oxygen, according to arrest documents. Doctors stated Harooni’s injuries “were consistent with a severe physical assault.”

Forman told Pottstown detectives and state police at Skippack that he and Harooni went to PJ Whelihan’s Pub in Oaks on Feb. 2 to watch the Super Bowl and that Harooni had a verbal altercation with three females who later beat her during an altercation that carried over outside his Perkiomen residence. Forman claimed he carried an injured Harooni into his home, that she was still breathing and that he continually checked on her until he fell asleep.

Forman 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.

Detectives, according to a criminal complaint, uncovered a 13-second audio and video recording on Forman’s cellphone 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, according to the criminal complaint.

The cellphone also contained two photographs of an injured Harooni outside and inside the Perkiomen residence, according to court papers.

Court documents indicate Forman and Harooni had been dating for about seven months and that he had recently rented a room at the Hamilton Road residence and that Harooni stayed there with him several times a week.

The investigation led to another Uber driver who transported Forman and Harooni from PJ Whelihan’s to the Perkiomen residence about 10:07 p.m. Feb. 2. During that drive, Harooni joked about getting a text message from an ex-boyfriend and Forman repeatedly demanded to see the message, prompting Harooni to tell Forman “you’re scaring me,” the Uber driver allegedly told detectives.

The driver 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.

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