PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man accused of murdering a Jefferson Hills motel owner in 2016 will stand trial on the charges, but Friday, his lawyer argued that other people may be behind the crime.
The attorney for 61-year-old Derrick Gallaway made that claim after hearing testimony from a witness who heard a phone conversation between Gallaway and another person talking about the crime.
In May of 2016, Dehnad Taiedi was found dead in the office at the Jefferson Hills motel with a gunshot wound to the head.
A witness told the court on two occasions he heard the conversation on speaker phone between Gallaway and another woman discussing the robbery and murder before and after it happened, but the problem is the woman that Gallaway was talking with on the phone has since died from a drug overdose.
“There’s no denying he stayed at that hotel, but we are denying that he had anything to do with what happened,” defense attorney Elbert R. Gray Jr. said. “I think based on what we heard in court today, there may be other individuals involved in what happened with this thing.”
A county detective testified that blood samples from a trail of blood that led from the office door to the parking lot matched Gallaway’s DNA profile.
Gallaway, who is originally from California, was arrested by U.S. marshals at a Sacramento hospital and extradited back to Pennsylvania to stand trial.