PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – An Army veteran acquitted in the shooting death of another motorist following a road-rage dispute has filed a federal lawsuit against police, prosecutors, and the city.
Brandon Thomas, 32, of Upper St. Clair, alleges that he was the victim of malicious prosecution, false arrest, reckless investigation and other misconduct by police and prosecutors in Washington.
A jury found him not guilty of first-degree murder, third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter in the October 2012 shooting of 55-year-old Vaughn Simonelli.
He was only convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia.
Thomas, who earned three Purple Hearts in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he has post-traumatic stress disorder and fired in self-defense.
His attorney, Frank Walker, alleged that officials “knew from the very beginning” that his client had not committed any crime.
Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone said he knew the case was tough from the beginning.
“There was conflicting evidence. It’s a difficult case. We knew that going in,” said Vittone. “However, we thought that it was a case that needed to be tried and the jury didn’t agree with the evidence that was presented and that’s the system we have.
Vittone and Mayor Brenda Davis declined comment on the latest lawsuit.
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