PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Isaiah Smith, who was accused of shooting and killing a former Slippery Rock University football player, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter Monday morning.
During the trial, prosecutors said Smith had no right to fire since Zach Sheridan was running away from him at the time outside the Original Hot Dog Shop and Dunkin’ Donuts on Forbes Avenue in Oakland around 3:30 a.m. Aug. 3, 2013.
As he prepared to pronounce sentence, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning called the case “both fascinating and disturbing.”
“By almost any consensus, you could return any verdict and be justified. From self-defense to involuntary manslaughter to voluntary manslaughter to third-degree murder to first-degree murder,” he said. “The defendant brought a gun to a fistfight, a fistfight fueled by alcohol. Nothing good can come of it.”
In the end, Manning said during the fight, Smith may have believed he was in danger of death, but that was an unreasonable belief.
The victim’s mother, Dee Sheridan, disagrees with the judge’s version of the degree of guilt.
“I don’t agree with him. I mean, he had pulled a gun out a couple of times. My son was a good kid. He was shot in the back,” she said.
She also disagreed with Smith’s contention that he never realized Sheridan was hit by gunfire that struck him in the back.
“He yelled, ‘I’ve been hit’ and they walked away past him across the street. Everybody was yelling, ‘He got hit,’” his mother said.
“There’s no remorse for him. He shot my son in the back. I mean, I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. If you would have [known] Zachary, he was a gentle giant. He was the most wonderful person. He took care of people. He helped people with addiction,” she said. “I don’t understand why. I don’t understand it. Why he had gun and pulled it on him. My son got pushed. The kid pushed Zach and Zach was just kind of defending him because he was showing a gun because he said he was from the hood.”
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