PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Isiah Smith, who was accused of shooting and killing a former Slippery Rock University football player, was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison Wednesday morning.
Smith was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in April. At the trial, prosecutors said he had no right to fire since Sheridan was running away from Smith at the time, while Smith argued it was self-defense.
“The defendant brought a gun to a fistfight, a fistfight fueled by alcohol,” Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning said in April. “Nothing good can come of it.”
On Aug. 3, 2013, Smith shot 24-year-old Zach Sheridan outside the Original Hot Dog Shop and Dunkin’ Donuts on Forbes Avenue in Oakland around 3:30 a.m after a fight between Sheridan and one of his friends and Smith escalated.
In deciding the verdict at the non-jury trial, Judge Jeffery Manning said: “The defendant brought the gun to a fist fight fueled by alcohol – nothing good can come of it.”
At his sentencing Isiah Smith first apologized to Zachary Sheridan’s family saying he: “Wasn’t trying to hurt nobody. Just trying to diffuse the situation. He also apologized to his own family.”
Earlier, Zack Sheridan’s friends and family told the court how their lives were irreparably changed by his death.
How, “If Smith had only extended his hand instead of a gun – he would have had a friend for life in Zack Sheridan.”
Many asked that Smith be given the maximum.
The Sheridan family, who had not been satisfied with the verdict – had little to say about the sentence. Zack’s mother Dee, who’d wiped away endless tears during statements, only held up a picture and said, “That’s my son.”
Smith’s family also left the courthouse without comment on the sentence. His 5-to-15 year sentence is right in the middle of the standard range. Smith had no previous criminal record.
Judge Manning commented that what happened was like any other in a long line of tragedies he see in his courtroom resulting from the ready accessibility of firearms in our society, where disputes are resolved with a gun.
Isaiah Smith Found Guilty Of Voluntary Manslaughter (4/7/2014)
Prosecution Rests Its Case In Fatal Oakland Shooting Trial (4/3/2014)
Charges Filed In Fatal Oakland Shooting (8/5/2013)