DA drops pursuit of death penalty against 3 men


PITTSBURGH - The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office has announced that it won’t seek the death penalty against three men accused in two separate homicides.

James Lawrence and Dorian Peebles are charged in the shooting death of Tiona Jackson outside Red’s Bar in Beltzhoover in 2013.

Lawrence is also charged, along with Michael Lyons, in the shooting death of 21-year-old Steven Lee a month after Jackson’s slaying.

Police allege Lawrence and Lyons pulled Lee off a party bus that was stopped at Chartiers Avenue and shot him.

Prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek capital punishment against Peebles in August 2013 and Lawrence a few months later. They filed notice against Lyons in October.

The DA's office withdrew its intent to seek the death penalty in a court filing on Aug. 29.

There are nearly 200 inmates awaiting execution in Pennsylvania prisons, according to the state Department of Corrections.

The state has executed three people since 1976, most recently Gary Heidnik of Philadelphia in 1999 for the kidnap and torture of six women, two of whom he killed.