Thirty-one-year-old Joseph Gazzam of Mount Lebanon had pleaded guilty to a general homicide count as well as reckless and child endangerment. Following a degree-of-guilt hearing last week, an Allegheny County judge ruled Tuesday that he had committed third-degree murder.
Prosecutors sought a first-degree murder conviction, saying Victoria was repeatedly struck in November 2017. Defense attorney sought an involuntary manslaughter conviction, calling his client merely negligent.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Judge Randal Todd said the defendant was aware that his daughter was born premature and was fragile, so his actions were more than mere negligence, but also cited little evidence that his actions were premeditated or malicious. Gazzam will be sentenced July 18.
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