PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — District Attorney Stephen Zappala says there is a possibility his office could ask a court to certify the 17-year-old charged in the robbery of a PNC Park employee as an adult.
However, Zappala says that would only pertain to the robbery charge. His office is analyzing the case to determine if the suspect could be tried as an adult.
Zappala says as the case stands now, there is not enough evidence to charge the 17-year-old with homicide since it appears the victim, 58-year-old Michael Schacht, suffered a heart attack before his encounter with the suspect.
The Schacht family released a statement Tuesday night upon learning about the arrest of the teenager:
“Our family has learned that a 17-year-old suspect has been arrested for this heartless tragedy. Although, we are appreciative of certain events disclosed, we are devastated to learn that it will be handled in the juvenile court system. We can only hope that truth will prevail and justice be served.”
The victim’s car was abandoned in Perry Hilltop and eventually his wallet was found in a sewer.
Since police can’t make a direct link between the robbery and the death, the teen is not charged with homicide, but the robbery charge could end up in adult court.
“Because of the manner the in which this 17-year-old conducted himself when he came across somebody in obvious distress, we’re going to look at that in conjunction with all the other elements that would make it appropriate or inappropriate to ask that he be certified to adult court, so that’s an open question at this point,” Zappala said.
He adds there are 17 criteria his office has to examine to determine whether they should ask the court to certify the suspect as an adult.