Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Da Seeks Death Penalty in Cookout Massacre 5 Adults, Unborn Child Killed in Wilkinsburg

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Da Seeks Death Penalty in Cookout Massacre 5 Adults, Unborn Child Killed in Wilkinsburg

Article excerpt

The Allegheny County District Attorney's office on Friday filed notice of its intent to seek the death penalty against two men accused of the mass slaying in Wilkinsburg in March.

Cheron Shelton, 29, of Lincoln-Lemington and Robert Thomas, 27, of Homewood are charged with killing five adults and an unborn child during a March 9 cookout at a home on Franklin Avenue in Wilkinsburg.

To obtain a sentence of execution, the prosecution must prove the existence of at least one aggravating factor. The jury must then determine that the aggravating factor outweighs any potential mitigating evidence presented by the defense.

In the case against Thomas and Shelton, the district attorney's office listed four potential aggravating factors.

They include that the defendants created a grave risk of death to others during the crime; that they have a significant history of felony convictions using the threat of violence; that they have been convicted of another crime before - or at the time of the current offense - for which life imprisonment or the death penalty is possible; and that they have been convicted of another murder before or at the time of the current offense. …

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