Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Judge Issues Mixed Verdict in Monroeville Mall Melee

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Judge Issues Mixed Verdict in Monroeville Mall Melee

Article excerpt

The judge in the trial of a teenager accused of shooting three people at the Monroeville Mall last year delivered a mixed verdict Monday.

Tarod Thornhill, 18, of Penn Hills is not guilty of attempted homicide, but guilty of three counts of aggravated assault, four counts of reckless endangerment and two firearms charges. He will be sentenced Jan. 26.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning rejected the defense claim that Mr. Thornhill was guilty but mentally ill at the time of the crimes on Feb. 7, 2015, inside Macy's. The judge, however, said he would recommend to the Department of Corrections that Mr. Thornhill receive mental health treatment anyway.

Judge Manning agreed that the defendant suffers from serious mental illness. But he said he could not find that Mr. Thornhill lacked the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the shooting, which is required by the statute governing the finding of guilty but mentally ill.

The judge noted that after having a confrontation with the intended target of the shooting, Davon Jones, Mr. Thornhill left, got a gun from a car in the mall parking lot and returned seconds later. He shot Mr. Jones six times - and wounded two bystanders - and then fled.

"He did appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct," Judge Manning said. "He was able to conform his conduct to the elements of the law."

The trial was set to start last week after a jury had been selected, but Mr. Thornhill elected at the last minute to have a bench trial.

During closing arguments Monday morning, defense attorney Chris Urbano argued that his client should not be found guilty of attempted homicide, because there was no specific intent to kill Mr. Jones. Mr. Thornhill was only a few feet away from Mr. Jones when he began firing and could have killed the victim had he wanted to, Mr. …

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