No charges in fatal Schenley Park stabbing, D.A. rules self-defense

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11 Chief Investigator Rick Earle has confirmed with both Pittsburgh Police and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office that no charges will be filed in the July stabbing death of 17-year-old Brandon Thomas.

The District Attorney’s office released a statement to Channel 11:

“Regarding the Schenley Park stabbing case, attorneys from our office met with PBP detectives and reviewed the evidence collected and statements made by numerous individuals. In our review, it was determined that there was a viable self-defense claim and that charges would not be filed. That decision was communicated to the lead homicide detective who spoke to the family. Charges will not be filed,” said First Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Spangler.

That decision isn’t sitting well with the mother of Brandon Thomas. Earle spoke with her by phone this afternoon.

“It definitely, it hurts, and me honestly I think charges should have been filed. There’s no justice at all, " said Shatera Linnen.

Linnen said she was told by witnesses who were at the party under the Panther Hollow Bridge in Schenley Park in July that he son was helping to break up a fight.

“From all the stories I’m getting, Brandon was trying to break up the fight. It’s from a lot of people, it’s the same stories that I’m hearing. Brandon was trying to break up the fight, he wasn’t the one fighting,” said Linnen, who doesn’t understand how it could be ruled self-defense when her son was stabbed in the chest.

Videos and pictures from that night have surfaced on social media.

One image shows a person being held down on the ground with what appears to be a knife in the right hand.

Pittsburgh Police confirmed today that the District Attorney’s office told them this week that the case was officially ruled self-defense.

Police nor the District Attorney’s office didn’t provide any more details as to what led them to determine that self-defense was the appropriate decision.

While Linnen is upset with that decision not to file charges, she claims police and the District Attorney’s office never told her about the final determination.

“I haven’t heard nothing from nobody...nobody called or reached out nothing,” said Linnen.

This afternoon, the District Attorney’s office disputed the mother’s claims that she wasn’t told about the self-defense determination. They claimed in a statement that the lead homicide investigator spoke with the family.

It’s unclear what led to the self-defense decision, but sources have told Channel 11 that the person who did the stabbing had been attacked and beaten.

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