PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The suspect in a cold case from 2006 is now headed to trial on charges that he gunned down a teenager on a street in Wilkinsburg.
Prosecutors say 26-year-old Leroy Irvin, of Braddock, managed to beat the rap in the murder of 17-year-old Chandler Thompson for more than four years.READ MORE: Severe Thunderstorms And Tornado Warnings Lead To Upended Trees, Storm Damage In Southwestern Pa. Counties
However, now they say witnesses have finally come forward with enough evidence to keep him behind bars.
Irvin’s family members say he’s an innocent man, but prosecutors say otherwise.
Prosecutors say Irvin is suspected in connection with the shooting death of Thompson in broad daylight in front of five or six people on Mill Street in Oct. 2006.READ MORE: Woman Arrested, Facing Homicide Charges Following Deadly Shooting In Sheraden
“Based upon the testimony of the eyewitness we presented today, Mr. Irvin was bound over for court on all of the charges he was facing,” said Mark Tranquilli, the prosecutor. “From here, he proceeds to formal arraignment and ultimately to trial.”
Prosecutors say it took them so long to make an arrest because witnesses were afraid to come forward because of Irvin’s violent reputation.
However, Irvin’s defense attorney isn’t buying their testimony.
“There were some other witnesses that weren’t called and I’m told there’s a reason for that. The witness that was called recanted her statement from earlier and even implied that the police encouraged a statement that wasn’t truthful. That’s disheartening and we’ll certainly use it at trial,” said Veronica Brestensky, the defense attorney. “But we have other witnesses that will contradict what her version of the events were today.”
Investigators have said that Irvin is a prime suspect in as many as four other unsolved killings, but they won’t say exactly which ones.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Afternoon Rain Chances After Morning Rounds Of Severe Weather
They do say that they hope now that Irvin is behind bars, witnesses who were afraid of him will be more willing to come forward and help them with those other cases.