Man convicted in ex-SRU football player's death gets up to 15 years

Updated:

PITTSBURGH - The man convicted in the death of a former Slippery Rock football player will serve five to 15 years in prison, an Allegheny County judge ordered Wednesday.

In April, 23-year-old Isiah Smith was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Zachary Sheridan.

Sheridan was shot following a drunken brawl outside The Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland on Aug. 3.

Smith admitted to police that he shot Sheridan in the back when he surrendered about 17 hours later.

Sheridan’s family was outraged that Smith wasn’t found guilty of a more serious charge since surveillance video allegedly showed Smith firing the gun.

The judge defended the lesser charge saying both men were fighting before the shooting.

During the sentencing phase, several family members and friends provided impact statements for Smith and Sheridan.

Smith's family asked the judge for leniency; Sheridan's family asked for the maximum penalty of 10 to 20 years.

“Justice may lie somewhere in the middle -- or not,” Common Pleas President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning said.

He added that but for Smith's possession of a gun, Sheridan would not have died.

“There's no gun here, there's no death. Perhaps some injuries, perhaps some bruises, but no death,” Manning said.

Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.

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