Defendant Testifies In Former Football Player’s Murder Trial
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The trial continued today for a man accused in the fatal shooting of a former local college football player outside a popular spot in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood last summer.
The defendant, Isaiah Smith, took the stand this afternoon in his own defense, testifying at one point, “I’m not guilty. I was defending myself.”
Smith is accused of shooting 24-year-old Zach Sheridan in August.
Earlier in the day, the prosecution rested its case.
The final prosecution witness was a pathologist who testified that Sheridan died of a gunshot wound that traveled back to front, left to right and upward.
Surveillance video shows medical emergency personnel working on Sheridan where he collapsed after being shot and one of his friends overcome with grief.
Sheridan, a former Slippery Rock University football player, was in Oakland with his friends at the same time Smith was in Oakland with his friends.
Prosecutors say Smith had no right to fire since a Sheridan was running away from him at the time outside the Original Hot Dog Shop and Dunkin Donuts on Forbes Avenue around 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2013.
But the defense argues that the shooting was in self-defense and surveillance video shows the fight that led up to the shooting involved at least two people fighting Smith in the moments before the shooting.
Smith told police it all started with him and one of Sheridan’s friends, and then Sheridan intervened.
“I gave him a push ‘cause I had to turn around, and I went like this and he went like – all like that – and then we started fighting. And Zach hit me, and he kept on hitting me,” said Smith in his videotaped confession.
Video taken from the Dunkin’ Donuts surveillance camera shows how the original fight started and escalated.
A confrontation between Sheridan and his friends and Smith and his friends was an outgrowth of a woman with Smith’s group who said she was allegedly being harassed by Sheridan and his friends.
Once the fight really gets going, it spills over into the street. At one point, Smith goes up against the wall of the doughnut shop with two on him. Not long after that, a single gunshot rings out.
Sheridan begins to flee, but is hit by that shot before he collapses.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.
Trial Begins In Former Slippery Rock Football Player’s Murder Case (4/1/14)
More Reports by Harold Hayes