A judge's unusual decision will allow a just-convicted cocaine dealer to say goodbye to his recently deceased daughter at the U.S. Courthouse, Downtown.
Ronnie Lubron Steave's only daughter, Mysharri Millender, 17, died in a Beechview car crash on Sunday, along with 18-year-old Kahdejah Cammon-Perkins. Three days later, he pleaded guilty to possession and conspiracy to sell more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Steave, 39, of Stanton Heights sought through attorney Kenneth Haber to be furloughed or transported from the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center to Mount Ararat Baptist Church to attend the visitation.
"It's a very rough time for him," Mr. Haber said.
Assistant U.S. attorney Jonathan Ortiz responded that Steave has been held pre-trial because he is viewed as dangerous and a flight risk. He added that a trip to the church would pose "high economic costs" and entail "significant safety concerns."
Federal marshals indicated they have a general policy against taking defendants to funerals, though they have done so when judges have ordered it.
U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab on Thursday ordered a compromise: The daughter's body will be brought to the U.S. Courthouse, Downtown, for a private viewing for Steave, Mr. Haber and marshals. The Steave family will pay the cost.
U.S. Marshal Steven Frank said the arrangement appears to be a first for Pittsburgh's federal court, adding that his office researched practices in other districts and found precedent for in-courthouse viewings.
"In this case it's a defendant whose daughter passed away in a tragic car accident," Mr. Frank said. "We have suggested [a courthouse viewing] based on what they've done in other districts to maximize security."
He said the arrangements have not yet been finalized.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.