BEAVER, Pa. (KDKA) — A Beaver County jury has found Sheldon Jeter Jr. guilty of first-degree homicide in the shooting death of his close friend, Tyric Pugh.
Deliberations began Tuesday evening when the judge handed the jury the case. A verdict was read after 3 p.m. on Wednesday.READ MORE: Jury Begins Deliberation In Trial Of Sheldon Jeter
Jeter was charged with shooting Pugh in Aliquippa last year. He will be sentenced on July 21.
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“He thanked us for our work, and we will have an opportunity to talk to him later,” said defense attorney Michael Santicola.
While Santicola doesn’t know what the 23-year-old man is thinking, he exclusively told KDKA he was surprised by the verdict.
“If you watch the closings and some of the presentation of evidence and the cross-examination, I think there was reason to pause. Obviously, the jury was not unanimous in the beginning of their deliberations. So somebody was thinking not guilty, and they were convinced otherwise,” Santicola said.
But Santicola said he wouldn’t change anything. He believes the defense put forward the best possible case, and Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier said the same for his team.
“You never know what a jury is going to do. A jury is a black box that you pour information into, and it depends on the life experience of those 12 jurors. So you never really know what they think will be significant. You are always surprised when a jury can reach a verdict on a complex case in just about seven hours,” Lozier said.
That verdict was met with mixed emotions from the families. Tears from Jeter’s side and gasps of relief from Pugh’s family. Lozier said they may never know why Jeter shot Pugh, but now they have some justice.
“I believe Sheldon Jeter has a flash temper and I think that might have been when happened in this case. We’ve seen other incidents in the past and one or two in the courtroom where we saw his flash temper surface and then go away very quickly. Aliquippa was very concerned about him being on the streets and now he’s not,” Lozier said.
There is an opportunity for appeals in this case. Santicola said attorneys will look back at the jurors to see if they had any previous knowledge of Jeter since he’s been in the headlines in connection with the Rachel Deltondo murder.
DelTondo was shot to death on Mother’s Day of 2018 in front of her parents’ Aliquippa home. DelTondo was alleged to have had a romantic connection to Jeter while he was a teenager, none of which was brought up in any testimony in front of the jury in this case.