PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The only thing KDKA heard from the jury in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting case Wednesday was a question about testimony from a Wilkinsburg police officer. There is not a verdict yet.
However, the documents KDKA received reveal details about how the defense says the prosecution tried to pay to influence a witness’ testimony.
This originally came to light on Friday when the defense revealed the bombshell and asked for a mistrial. The judge said no.
The witness claims he was paid several times by different law enforcement agencies. He said prosecutors asked him to lie and to implicate Cheron Shelton.
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The witness says he was arrested in a separate case and put in a cell next to Shelton. That’s when he says he was supposed to “gather anything I could”. He said he didn’t end up talking to Shelton about the Wilkinsburg shooting and they just had a regular conversation.
The witness told defense attorneys: “I couldn’t go through with it. He just kept stating he was innocent.”
The district attorney’s office denies that the witness was paid for his testimony. Prosecutors said they only provide financial assistance if a witness needs protection.
After all that, the prosecution decided not to use the witness during the trial. The commonwealth said this is another desperate attempt to influence a jury that has not been sequestered.
In a full statement, the DA’s office says:
“The Commonwealth believes and therefore avers that this filing was a desperate attempt on behalf of the defense to influence a jury that has not been sequestered during deliberations in this matter.
In certain cases devoid of participation of witnesses and the assistance of the public, the Commonwealth must often rely on the use of informants. In those instances, reasonable steps are taken in advance of the decision to use an informant to ensure the veracity of the information that they claim to possess. The Commonwealth denies generally, and in this specific instance, that funds are paid directly for information. Instead, the Commonwealth provides financial assistance consistent with the need to protect the witness from the relative danger in which they are placing themselves by testifying. The suggestion that the Commonwealth did anything to the contrary is deliberate and offensive.
Since August 8, 2018 the continued litigation and/or discussion of an individual that was not called by the Commonwealth at trial or any other proceeding has served as a disingenuous platform for misinformation on the part of the defense.”
Deliberations are set to resume Thursday at 9 a.m.