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Attorneys call for charges to be dropped against Wilkinsburg mass shooting suspects

PITTSBURGH — Attorneys for the two men suspected in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting are calling for charges to be dropped, just days before the trial is scheduled to start.

On Friday, lawyers for Cheron Shelton and Robert Thomas filed a motion for “extraordinary relief.” In addition to calling for charges to be dropped, they want the death penalty taken off the table, suppression of witness number three and the removal of Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Lisa Pellegrini.

In the motion, defense attorneys claim there cannot be a fair trial because prosecutors have violated the defendants’ due process by not turning over all discovery or disclosing exculpatory evidence.

The credibility of Witness #3 has been questioned.

A new motion filed by the attorney for Robert Thomas said the DA’s office agreed the person identified as Witness #3 was not credible.

During a hearing earlier in the week, prosecutors told the judge Witness #3 provided information on 13 criminal cases.

Channel 11 News also learned during the hearing that Witness #3 spoke to Allegheny County police and admitted to being involved in, or having direct knowledge of, six crimes and having hearsay information about seven others.

Defense attorneys said they learned Witness #3 also allegedly confessed to killing 15-month-old Marcus White Jr. in a shooting in 2013.

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Prosecutors said they would not be using Witness #3.

The trial is set to start next week for the 2016 ambush shooting in Wilkinsburg that killed five people and an unborn baby during a backyard barbecue.

The judge assigned to the case, Judge Borkowski, said he plans to make a decision on whether to dismiss the homicide charges or not on Monday at 9 a.m., right before the trial is scheduled to begin.