Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shooter Convicted in Killing outside 'O' Manslaughter Verdict in Oakland Incident

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shooter Convicted in Killing outside 'O' Manslaughter Verdict in Oakland Incident

Article excerpt

The judge called the case "both fascinating and disturbing."

Fascinating because a fact-finder hearing the details of the fatal shooting outside the Original Hot Dog Shop in Oakland last summer could find just about any verdict in the case against Isiah Smith and be able to justify it.

Disturbing, because a young man lost his life and another will go to prison following an unnecessary early-morning altercation.

In the end, following a three-day non-jury trial, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning found Mr. Smith guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

The judge said the defendant believed he was in danger at the time he pulled the trigger, but that his belief was unreasonable.

"What is certain is the defendant brought a pistol to a fistfight," Judge Manning said.

Mr. Smith faces at least a mandatory five-year prison term when he is sentenced on July 2.

Mr. Smith, 23, was charged with criminal homicide in the Aug. 3 slaying of Zachary Sheridan, 24, of Brookline.

Mr. Sheridan was shot in the back as he ran across Forbes Avenue following a confrontation with Mr. Smith and other people with him.

The incident started, police said, when Mr. Sheridan and his two friends asked for a ride home from a woman meeting Mr. Smith at the "O."

The woman testified at trial that the men with Mr. Sheridan were rude and insulting to her and asking if she was a jitney.

She asked Mr. Smith to walk her to her car, and as he did, Mr. Sheridan and his two friends confronted them.

At first, Mr. Smith, who had a license to carry a firearm, showed his gun to one of the men, Nicholas Rotunda, hoping to defuse the situation, the defendant testified at trial.

Instead, the confrontation escalated.

Mr. Smith put the gun back in his pocket and pushed Mr. Rotunda. Mr. Sheridan then sucker-punched Mr. Smith, and he was knocked to the ground.

Mr. …

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