Admissibility of Wilkinsburg Shooting Suspect’s Police Interview Questioned

By Guza, Megan | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 8, 2017 | Go to article overview

Admissibility of Wilkinsburg Shooting Suspect’s Police Interview Questioned


Guza, Megan, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


A hearing Tuesday for two men accused of carrying out a 2016 shooting in Wilkinsburg that left five adults and an unborn child dead centered on whether a police interview with one of the suspects is admissible in court.

The trial for Cheron Shelton and Robert Thomas — both charged with six counts of homicide and other offenses — is scheduled to begin March 12.

Thomas’ attorney Casey White questioned Allegheny County homicide detectives regarding the April 5, 2016, interview that took place more than two months before Thomas and Shelton were charged with the murders.

Investigators zeroed in on the pair not long after the March 9 massacre and revived a 2013 drug case against Thomas, Shelton and others. Allegheny County police arrested Thomas on April 5, 2016, on a warrant related to the 2013 drug case with the intention of questioning him about the March 9 homicides.

White also questioned whether Thomas was properly informed of his rights before that questioning began. Det. Steven Hitchings testified that he informed Thomas of his rights and that Thomas said he understood them and agreed to be questioned about the killings.

White said that Thomas asked Hitchings numerous times whether he was being charged in connection with the homicides.

The defendants and their attorneys, prosecutors and Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Cashman spent much of Tuesday morning and part of the afternoon watching a taped recording of the interview in closed proceedings. …

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