ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A man accused of shooting a clerk during an attempted robbery at a Ross Township business will go to trial.
George Wilson was already facing charges of aggravated assault, robbery and attempted homicide in connection with the robbery at The Exchange on McKnight Road in Ross Township last December.
Prosecutors added a firearms charge and charges of terroristic threats in court on Wednesday. After the hearing, Wilson was ordered to stand trial on all charges.
Among the evidence presented at today’s hearing: a picture police believe is a selfie found on a cell phone found with Wilson when he was stopped in Wilkins Township weeks after the shooting.
Investigators say that still picture is significant because it shows what they see as the unique style of the leather jacket with silver trim the gunman wore the night of the shooting.
The defense believes there are hundreds of jackets like that. No one could see the face or hands of the gunman because everything from face to hands was covered.
The victim, Michael Allen, testified the gunman entered the store at 8:20 p.m., just 10 minutes before he was to go home. He noticed the man carried a gun.
He demanded cash, but Allen said he didn’t have the card necessary to open the registers, and when the gunman didn’t think he was moving quickly enough to get the cash, he was shot in the back shoulder.
Ross Township Det. Brian Kohlhepp testified police traced a gun found in the car Wilson was driving to the bullet that hit Allen. But they did not establish Wilson owned either the car or the gun.
“The only connection between my client and the crime is the gun,” said defense attorney Mike Worgul, “So a lot of focus is going to go on whether or not they can in fact actually connect him with that gun.”
Investigators also say they found Google searches on the phone found with Wilson about the Ross Township shooting, but the defense calls the prosecution case circumstantial.
Meanwhile, local businesses supported the victim and his family at the hearing.
“Every time a door opens for us, somebody in the retail industry, they probably wonder maybe what the possibilities are,” says attorney Michael Eisen, who practices in Ross. “So you know a community like Ross, this is not very typical; so this is unfortunately a little bit of a wakeup call.”
The bullet remains inside Michael Allen because it’s too risky to remove. Doctors told him had it ended up eight millimeters closer to his spine; he could have been paralyzed for life.