Mass shooting suspect’s acquittal the latest lost case for Allegheny Co. DA’s office

Mass shooting suspect’s acquittal the latest lost case for Allegheny Co. DA’s office

WILKINSBURG, Pa. — The acquittal of the man accused in the 2016 Wilkinsburg backyard BBQ mass shooting is just the latest loss in a line of cases for the district attorney’s office.

Most recently, the acquittal of a former East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teen who fled from a traffic stop led to calls for the District Attorney to resign.

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"Does this give the DA's Office a black eye?" asked Target 11 Investigator Rick Earle.

"No, I don't think so," replied defense attorney David Shrager.

Shrager is a lawyer in Pittsburgh and said he's sure both sides presented their best arguments in those cases.

"The reality is someone has to win and somebody has lose," he said.

In the Wilkinsburg case, there was trouble even before the trial started. Charges against one of the defendants, Robert Thomas, were dismissed after questions about a jailhouse informant.

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During the trial, Cheron Shelton’s defense asked for a mistrial after accusations another jailhouse informant was paid, telling Channel 11 in an exclusive interview he was given money to lie. It’s an allegation the DA’s office has denied.

Shelton's attorney said this acquittal should send a strong message.

“I would say that it obviously on top of the Rosfeld verdict as you mentioned, it is probably enough for them to reassess how they file their charges,” defense attorney Wendy Williams said.

Jury reaches verdict during 4th day of deliberations in Wilkinsburg mass shooting trial