ETNA (KDKA) — Trial is underway for the man accused of killing two people in an apartment in Etna.
In the opening statements, both sides told the jury Josh Huber shot and killed Melissa Zuk and Derek Schindler. The question the jury will decide is whether the killings were premeditated murders or shootings in self-defense?
The shootings happened on April 15, 2016, in an apartment building on Vilsack Road in Etna. Afterward, upstairs neighbor Donald Cox talked with KDKA about what he heard and saw that morning.
“I heard yelling and screaming coming from the apartment underneath me. I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, grabbed my phone – called 911. Then I grabbed my 12 gauge and headed down the steps,” said Cox.
According to Cox, Huber was covered in blood and three people were lying on the floor.
“I stuck a 12 gauge in his face and made him get on the floor. It’s hard to argue with a 12 gauge,” said Cox, who held Huber there until police arrived.
When Huber was taken into custody, he had visible injuries to his face. When asked by KDKA’s Harold Hayes if he had anything to say about the case, Huber said, “Yeah. Self-defense.” Huber added, “They attacked me at close range.”
In opening statements, his attorney Michael Waltman told the jury the same thing, saying Huber shot Zuk and Schindler while he was being beaten.
Chief Trial Deputy Dan Fitzsimmons told the jury the killings are first degree murder and nothing less. Medical examiner Dr. Karl Williams told the jury Zuk was killed by a gunshot wound to her chest and Schindler by a gunshot wound to his trunk. He also testified that toxicology results showed they had a combination of drugs in their systems.
There was not one empty seat in the courtroom as the trial got underway.