PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A judge ordered two men charged in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting held for trial Friday after a lengthy preliminary hearing.
The judge conceded that individually, the evidence against the men may not be that strong, but when combined, he said it’s enough to hold the men.READ MORE: Police: Brackenridge Homeowner Finds Man At Kitchen Table Eating Ice Cream On Thanksgiving Day
Killed in the shooting were 25-year-old Chanetta Powell, who was eight months pregnant, 35-year-old Jerry Shelton, 37-year-old Tina Shelton, 29-year-old Brittany Powell and 26-year-old Shada Mahone.
“This is weak circumstantial evidence that barely made it past the preliminary hearing level,” said Shelton’s attorney, Randall McKinney.
Among the evidence presented against them, a Lincoln-Continental that police say was spotted at the scene and then later at Shelton’s mom’s house.
Also, surveillance pictures which police say shows Shelton carrying a long object which they believe is the AK-47 used in the shooting.
The Assistant District Attorney also talked about weapons found at Shelton’s house, including magazines for an AK-47.
There’s also a letter, which the judge said was written by Shelton in jail to someone named “Pops,” asking for help getting rid of what could be evidence.READ MORE: West Virginia Opens 2022 College Football Season At Pitt
It reads in part: “I got something there that I was workin on getn rid of… it’s down stair next to the lawn mowers wrapt ready to be toss..”
The letter is signed: “Burn this when Done Reading.. Love Yall with all My Heart.. Cheron”
“This was a highly circumstantial case with limited witnesses, no DNA evidence, no ballistics, no fingerprints, inadmissible hearsay evidence from a jailhouse informant,” said McKinney.
Police say that informant claims that both Shelton and Thomas confessed.
Specifically, that Thomas used a pistol, which scared people up onto the porch, and that Shelton then used an assault rifle to kill them.
But Thomas’ lawyer said there was even less evidence concerning his client.
“The circumstantial evidence presented today was essentially non-existent with my client,” said Casey White.MORE NEWS: Deadline Approaches For Allegheny County Employees To Prove Vaccination Or Face Termination
However, the district judge did rule there was enough evidence to hold men over for trial.