PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man is going to jail over an incident involving an alternate juror picked for the trial of the man accused in the Wilkinsburg backyard barbecue shooting.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas reports from the Allegheny County Courthouse that Lonnie Jenkins, 36, will spend six months in jail following the incident involving Juror No. 16 on Wednesday during the trial of Cheron Shelton.READ MORE: McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge Reopens Following Inspection After Possible Barge Strike
Lonnie Jenkins was held in contempt of court for allegedly making remarks to juror 16 during a video in court yesterday. The judge says he was making the juror uncomfortable and was staring at the juror. The judge sentenced Jenkins to six months in jail. pic.twitter.com/qsahYPsdWj
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) February 6, 2020
According to officials, it happened while video was being played in court.
The juror told Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies that Jenkins positioned himself in close proximity to her and started talking low. At one point, allegedly saying, “Ain’t this some [expletive].”
The juror said she perceived that his comments were directed at her. She told officials she was “very uncomfortable,” she saw Jenkins allegedly staring at her and said she “wished he’d move.”
Officials say she also told sheriff’s deputies that she noticed him staring at her at an elevator.
- 2 Letters Allegedly Written By Wilkinsburg Mass Shooting Suspect Read To Jury On Day 3 Of Trial
- Wilkinsburg Mass Shooting Suspect Robert Thomas Out Of Jail After Having Case Dismissed
- Wilkinsburg Mass Shooting Trial Getting Underway, Judge Tosses Case Against Suspect Robert Thomas
- Key Witness In Wilkinsburg Mass Shooting Trial Not To Testify
- Jury Selection Underway For Trial Of 2 Men Charged In Backyard Barbecue Mass Shooting
- Judge Considers Motion To Bar Death Penalty In Wilkinsburg Cookout Slayings
- Gag Order Issued In Wilkinsburg Cookout Ambush Case
Jenkins’ attorney says his client denies all the allegations.
His client told the judge, “I apologize. I grew up with these people [referencing people from the public in court]. I sat there and listened. Didn’t say anything.
The attorney asked to see the transcript of what the juror said and for a few days to prepare for a contempt proceeding.
However, the judge said Jenkins willfully obstructed the proceedings and delayed court this morning. He added that the juror gave up time to be there and her right to serve as a juror was compromised.
After the delay in proceedings — Shelton’s sister, girlfriend and mother took the stand.
His girlfriend, Channel Falls, testified that everyone was at the house of Shelton’s mother on Nolan Court in Homewood on the day of the shooting.READ MORE: Former West Penn Hospital Employee Pleads Guilty To Video Taping Employees And Patients
WATCH: KDKA’s Amy Wadas Reports Live From The Courthouse
Falls said when Shelton dropped her and the kids off at home after their visit, he said he was going to run out and grab hamburger buns but didn’t come back until the early hours on March 10.
Falls testified that she didn’t know where Shelton was but did say during cross-examination that he dealt drugs to make money so it wouldn’t be unlike him to be out late doing that.
When Shelton’s mother — Desdrene Smith — took the stand, she testified that she was aware of investigators finding a rifle and ammunition in the bottom floor of her home and told the court it could have been anyone’s rifle.
She said her daughter is licensed to carry.
Detectives also testified to several phone records that were retrieved during the course of the investigation.
Two numbers, in particular, the night of the shooting stood out to police.
The number are believed to be Shelton’s and the other of his former co-defendant Robert Thomas.
Dozens of phone calls between the two were made that night, but then there was a 10-minute gap between calls.
The mass shooting happened during that gap in calls, police say.
The jury was also shown three separate videos of a conversation Shelton had with his father, Robert Shelton, at the Allegheny County Jail from April 2016.
The audio portion of that video was disabled so the court could only take note of hand gestures and facial expressions.
In the video, Cheron Shelton alternated between sitting down and standing up while talking to his father.
He was very expressive with his hands and has some dramatic facial expressions.MORE NEWS: Resolution At Pittsburgh City Council Meeting Would Ban Plastic Bags In The City
A detective testified that investigators followed Cheron Shelton’s father for about three hours after his jail visit to see if any weapons were recovered but none were.