Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jury Finds California Man Guilty in Slaying of Motel Owner Jefferson Hills Shooting Brings Murder Verdict

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jury Finds California Man Guilty in Slaying of Motel Owner Jefferson Hills Shooting Brings Murder Verdict

Article excerpt

A jury deliberated for just over two hours Tuesday before finding a California man guilty of first-degree murder in the 2016 shooting of a Jefferson Hills motel owner.

Derrick Gallaway, 63, now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole for killing Dehnad "Danny" Taiedi.

The jury of nine women and three men also found Mr. Gallaway guilty of robbery, theft and tampering with evidence following a trial that began a week earlier.

Police said Mr. Gallaway killed the 78-year-old owner of the Jefferson Hills Motel on Route 51 while the victim worked the overnight shift May 27, 2016.

Mr. Gallaway did not visibly react as the verdict was read in the courtroom of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark V. Tranquilli.

Kimberly Taiedi Francis, the victim's daughter, said she worried during the trial that she might not get the closure she wanted, but then realized that whatever the verdict, her dad was gone.

"It matters, yes, if justice is served. But whatever the verdict, I am forever changed. Nothing brings my dad back. I have forever branded in my memory the phone call on May 27, 2016. In one second, my world was changed forever."

"It doesn't bring him back, but Derrick Gallaway will not be on the streets to hurt anyone else," said Ashley Nebel, Mr. Taiedi's granddaughter.

"The chief was a good man, and no one will forget him," said his stepdaughter, Carrie Simpson.

In closing arguments Tuesday morning, the prosecutor said that for Mr. Gallaway to be found innocent, almost every single prosecution witness had to be lying.

That would include: the employees of the Jefferson Hills Motel who testified that Mr. Gallaway had stayed there several times; a woman who was staying at the motel the night of May 26, 2016, and said she heard Mr. Gallaway and another man talk about robbing the place; and a borough police officer who said he interacted with Mr. Gallaway at the motel a year before the shooting.

"Everybody is lying except him," Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Daniel Fitzsimmons told the jury. …

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