PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday morning against two suspects, Cheron Shelton and Robert Thomas, accused in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting.

Sources tell KDKA the defense attorneys in the Wilkinsburg backyard barbecue mass shooting trial asked for the charges to be dropped.

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Left: Cheron Shelton, Right: Robert Thomas (Photos Courtesy of Allegheny County Jail)

On Friday morning, sources say defense attorneys filed a motion calling for all charges to be dropped. They claim there cannot be a fair trial because prosecutors have not turned over and disclosed all of the evidence.

The judge ruled the trial will proceed on Monday and that it won’t be dismissed. However, the judge will rule whether or not to dismiss the charges against Thomas. The main witness against him allegedly confessed to killing a 15-month-old baby.

The witness, only identified as witness three, is embroiled in a separate case involving a shooting at a picnic in the East Hills in 2013 that claimed the life of a toddler.

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Witness three’s credibility was in question, so the prosecution decided he won’t be testifying.

Shelton and Thomas are charged with killing five adults and an unborn child at a cookout on Franklin Avenue in March of 2016. The shooting injured three others, including a man who is paralyzed.


The defense is also asking for the death penalty and the assistant district attorney to be removed. Late Friday, the judge declined to dismiss the prosecutors, saying they committed “shortcomings in the protocol” that shouldn’t have happened, but concluded that they are “not violations.”

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Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.