PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A group of people accused of assaulting a local pastor appeared in court Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing.
Gerard and Kaela Rupert, of Lawrenceville, as well as Robert Noftz, of Morningside, will now head to trial.
Reginald Myers, 65, the assistant pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, arrived at City Court to learn that the three defendants were charged today with a new count: attempted homicide.
The three were already facing a list of charges including, aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and conspiracy.
Testifying, Myers recounted what he told KDKA-TV’s Mary Robb Jackson earlier this month about Gerard Rupert’s alleged use of a knife on him, as well as Rupert’s alleged use of racial slurs.
“Tonight, you’re gonna die, I’m going to cut your throat,” Myers recalled during his testimony.
He testified that Robert Noftz was the first to attack him with fists when Myers inquired about what he thought was a woman’s call for help on the night of Nov. 7.
He said he grabbed a stick when he was being attacked, but it got lost in the scuffle.
Noftz’s lawyer, though, thinks Myers was the aggressor and produced a picture of Noftz’s injuries to make his case.
“The problem with this case is the good reverend forgot that he did use that stick, and he split my client’s head open with the stick, and he’s the one that precipitated this whole matter,” said defense attorney Charles Porter.
Meanwhile, the woman Myers thought was in trouble, Kaela Rupert, ended up kicking him while he fought two others, according to Myers’ testimony.
Her lawyer will fight the attempted homicide charges at trial.
“I think, at the time of trial. Again, we welcome the opportunity when we take discovery and we get evidence. It’s going to be a much different picture painted. Much different,” said Paul Kay, who represents Kaela Rupert.
In the end, though, District Judge Oscar Petite disagreed with the defense and ordered the defendants to stand trial on charges including attempted homicide and ethnic intimidation.
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