PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two teenagers charged in the fatal shooting of another young man during a robbery are headed to trial.
Nathan Lee, 16, and Bryson Koontz, 17, will both be tried as adults for the murder of 17-year-old Nathan Assad in Baldwin last month.
Police say it started after Lee allegedly robbed Assad of a half-ounce of marijuana and a gold chain at a home on Lucy Drive.
Police say Koontz gave Lee the gun for the robbery, and then took it back. Koontz’s attorney says that’s not true and his client was only the driver.
“At 17 years of age, kids do things with a lack of judgement, but I can tell you without any equivocation that Bryson Koontz had nothing to do with actual encouragement, intent, or otherwise activity related to the killing,” defense attorney Charles LoPresti said.
After the robbery, Koontz and Lee drove away, but Assad persuaded a friend to follow them.
While they were being chased, police say Koontz gave Lee the gun back and Lee fired shots at the pursuing vehicle, striking Assad in the head.
LoPresti says Koontz was trying to stop him.
“Bryson Koontz continued to drive. They were leaving that area, next thing he knows, Lee’s hanging out the window of the car with his full body, firing the gun, and he was screaming at him to get back in and not fire that gun. And that’s a fact,” LoPresti said.
LoPresti says witnesses in the car can corroborate his client’s story.
He says Koontz has never been in trouble and was going to be the starting quarterback for the state champion Clairton Bears football team this season.
“This is a situation where you just say to yourself, ‘How could this have transpired?’ And what is, it’s being with wrong people at the wrong time,” LoPresti said.