WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) — Four men charged in connection with an attempted home invasion in Washington County that claimed the life of a 10-year-old girl were ordered to stand trial on those charges.
“What I’m focused on is speaking for my child,” said victim Taniyah Thomas’s father, Curtis Thomas, Jr. “Because, you know, on these newscasts, everybody says, ’Oh poor little 10-year-old child killed in a home invasion. That’s all they… that’s my daughter’s legacy? Not at all. My daughter was more than that. My daughter was a straight A student; she was funny; she was popular; she was athletic; she was beautiful. She was so much more than just a victim.”
Wearing a shirt with his daughter’s picture, that’s how he coped with the tight security at the hearing. And that’s how he coped with the coroner’s report that the shot that killed his daughter hit her in the head.
He also heard the testimony of an investigator who says the defendants gave their own versions of riding around one night planning a robbery – two of them shooting at the house, two of them staying in the car, but never getting into the house.
Mike DeRiso, the attorney for defendant Malik Thomas, says his client is remorseful.
“Incredibly remorseful,” says DeRiso. “I mean, this was his cousin that was killed. Never in a million years did he intend for this to happen. I don’t believe he knew that this young girl was there, and I honestly believe that’s what led him to tell all.”
The attorney for defendant Richard White argued he shouldn’t be charged with murder.
“His involvement in the alleged crime is very minimal,” said defense attorney Amanda Como. “He never exited the vehicle.”
But Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone disagrees.
“If you’re an active participant or an accomplice in a dangerous crime such as a robbery or a burglary, you can be held accountable for the homicide, so that’s as basic as I can make it,” says Vittone.
Police say they are still looking for the guns used in the crime.