Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

LOCAL [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

LOCAL [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH MAN SENTENCED FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

A man will spend five to 10 years in a state prison for sexually assaulting and beating a woman in her McKeesport apartment in November, the Allegheny County district attorney's office said today.

James Leon Thomas, 33, of Pittsburgh pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to sexual assault and simple assault before Common Pleas Judge Jill Rangos, who immediately sentenced him.

Thomas raped, choked, punched and cut the hair of a woman Nov. 10 in her Sumac Street apartment while her 18-month-old child slept in the next room, according to a criminal complaint filed by McKeesport police.

He threatened to kill the baby if she called police, the affidavit states.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette does not identify sexual assault victims.

In exchange for his plea, all other charges against Thomas - including rape, aggravated assault and burglary - were withdrawn, DA's office spokesman Mike Manko said.

His trial had been scheduled to begin before Judge Rangos this week, though he pleaded before jury selection began.

TWO WITNESSES LIED, HOMICIDE SUSPECT TESTIFIES

Herbert Hart told an Allegheny County jury this morning that two of the prosecution's witnesses lied on the stand during his homicide trial.

Jamara Pendleton and Vanessa German testified for the prosecution Tuesday that minutes before Mr. Hart, 26, fatally shot Robert Wilson, 35 -- the father of a child with Mr. Hart's fiancee - Mr. Wilson said he was only at Mr. Hart's Homewood house to see his daughter.

"It seemed like it was in [Mr. Wilson's] heart that he wanted to see his daughter," Ms. German said, adding that Mr. Wilson never entered the house.

Mr. Hart, who fired a single shot at Mr. Wilson, of East Liberty, on Oct. 11, disputed that account.

In fact, Mr. Wilson crossed the threshold of the door with his foot and right arm, Mr. Hart said, prompting him to shoot Mr. Wilson in self-defense.

Mr. Hart also testified that he did not try to hide any evidence and was not aiming at Mr. Wilson's heart when he fired at him.

Mr. Hart testified he was placed in protective custody following the shooting at his request and turned himself in to the police shortly after hearing there was a warrant for his arrest. …

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