WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Three men accused of killing a Washington & Jefferson College student in 2012 pleaded guilty in court Tuesday.
The suspects, Eric Wells, 25, of Pittsburgh, Troy Simmons, 23, of East Pittsburgh, and Adam Hankins, 24, of Washington, pleaded guilty to robbery and homicide in the death of 21-year-old Timothy McNerney.
A judge determined the nature of the crime to be third-degree homicide.
“The judge gave us the opportunity to plead homicide, one count of robbery, murder in the third degree,” said Simmons’ attorney Jack Puskar.
Police say McNerney was walking back to campus with a teammate from a local tavern Oct. 4, 2012, when the two were attacked. Authorities say McNerney died at Washington Hospital after he was knocked to the ground.
“I don’t believe for a minute that this was a planned event,” said Wells’ attorney Michael Deriso. “I don’t believe this was a racially motivated event this was a chance encounter between college students and people that were visiting in a fight turned into theft and robbery and someone died.”
Deriso says Wells threw the fatal punch.
“My client through the punch that struck McNerney in the head, yes,” he said.
All three suspects were arrested on Aug. 7, 2013.
The suspects allegedly stole McNerney‘s iPhone and police used the phone’s GPS to track them.
They are expected to be sentenced in August.
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