PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man has been ordered to stand trial in connection with a fatal shooting in the city’s Manchester section, but the defense attorney claims the eyewitness who testified Friday is pointing to the wrong man.
According to an eyewitness who was in the truck with the victim, Derrick Owens, someone merely walked up to the vehicle and fired.
The gunshot knocked Owens back into the truck, and he died of a gunshot to the arm and chest.
The eyewitness at Friday’s hearing identified the gunman as Rashawn Austin. Court records show the victim was once accused of stealing from Austin’s mother.
The defense focused on the short period of time the eyewitness saw the gunman that night and the darkness around Fulton Street and Columbus Avenue in Manchester, and questioned whether the identification was accurate.
Especially since the defense claims Austin wore a beard, and the witness claims the gunman was clean shaven.
“When she was shown the photo array, it was him from a picture that was taken previously of him with a full beard. He’s always had a full beard,” said James Wymard, the defense attorney. “And she’s saying the person that did this absolutely was clean shaven. And my client here, he is with a full beard, what a day or two later when they arrest him.”
Even so, the prosecutor argued there was enough evidence to hold Austin for trial and the judge agreed. But what does the defense do with this when it gets to trial.
“I’m going to obviously say that this creates reasonable doubt. Clearly, it would have to in anybody’s mind,” says Wymard. “If she’s going to say that this person is clean shaven, and I can establish through the testimony of 50 witnesses that he was not clean shaven and that he did have this full beard and continuously had it for a week, a month, years before, through even a couple of days after he was arrested, it couldn’t have been him.”
But we’ll know more about how Austin’s case will proceed after his formal arraignment in July.