Penn Hills boy's account of girl's death changed several times, judge told

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A teenage Penn Hills boy gave investigators three different stories before settling on one in which he claimed a gun accidentally went off, killing a 17-year-old girl.

Akeem Page-Jones, now 18, is on trial in the death of Teesa Williams, who was shot and then left to die inside her Penn Hills home after it was set on fire on March 22, 2011.

Detective Gregory Matthews testified that Mr. Page-Jones first said he had seen Teesa the day before the incident and not at anytime after that.

"He was adamant that they didn't have any contact," the detective testified Friday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos.

But the defendant's story continued to evolve. During his interview, Mr. Page-Jones was accompanied by both his grandparents and his mother.

In the second version, the young man told Detective Matthews that he stopped to visit Teesa that morning, and had a .22-caliber gun in his coat pocket. But he said when he arrived, there was another man at the house, who he said took the gun out of his coat pocket, which was on a dining room chair, and fired it.

After Detective Matthews told the defendant that, based on ballistic evidence, that could not possibly be true, the story changed again.

"In his third account, he admitted he was acting alone, and there was no unknown male," the detective testified.

In his final version of events, Mr. Page-Jones said he showed the gun to Teesa, that she was curious about it, but that he would not let her touch it.

"He claimed she became more obsessed with the handgun," Detective Matthews said. "He said there was a small tug of war over the handgun, and it accidentally went off."

Mr. Page-Jones told the detective that Teesa was still breathing after having been struck in the chin by the bullet, that he covered her with an afghan and then attempted to set her on fire, using dried flowers lit on a stove burner.

When the fire continued to only smolder, Mr. Page-Jones went back to the kitchen and lit other items on fire there.

"He didn't indicate anything as to why he wanted to set the house on fire," the detective said.

Mr. Page-Jones also failed to provide any explanation to investigators as to why he didn't seek help for Teesa after the shooting, Detective Matthews said.

Before leaving the girl's house, Mr. Page-Jones told detectives that he stole her PlayStation 3, as well as her mother's purse.

He then went home and took a nap.

Defense attorney Kevin Abramowitz spent much of his time Friday asking questions about Joseph King, a friend of Mr. Page-Jones from whom he borrowed the handgun a few days before the shooting.

Despite repeated questions about him, Mr. King, who also testified Friday, was not a suspect in the case, Detective Matthews said.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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