The attorney for an Imperial man charged with homicide said his client started shooting inside a North Fayette bar last March, but he argued that the man isn’t a killer and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“The fact that a tragedy occurred does not necessarily mean that a crime or crimes were committed,” Attorney Christopher Capozzi told jurors in an opening statement Tuesday.
“He’s a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and frankly in the wrong condition.”
David Mazzocco, 26, is accused of killing James Adams, 29, and shooting two others early in the morning on March 11. Injuries to Joseph Quirk caused blindness and hearing loss, prosecutors said. Another patron, Gerald Maloni, was also hurt. He helped hold Mr. Mazzocco until police arrived.
Mr. Capozzi said his client had been drinking at the Fort Pitt Inn on Steubenville Pike when Adams, who he didn’t know, threatened him. The attorney also said the defendant had been using prescription medication that he had not been prescribed.
He said Mr. Mazzocco later walked across the bar to “find out from Mr. Adams what this was about” and saw Adams reach in his pocket. Then, the attorney said, Mr. Mazzocco started firing.
Allegheny County deputy district attorney Daniel Fitzsimmons described to 12 jurors and two alternates how Adams was shot, fell off the bar stool and was “gurgling on his own blood.”
“He was shot for no reason at all,” he said.
Allegheny County police said Mr. Mazzocco had been arguing with his girlfriend via text message at the bar that night, walked outside to his truck and returned with three guns.
Mr. Capozzi asked Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel at a suppression hearing before the trial started Tuesday morning to remove his client’s statement to police from the record.
Mr. Mazzocco, who is a father and a self-taught mechanic, wore a white shirt, blazer and khakis and took the stand to testify.
He told Judge McDaniel that he doesn’t remember being at the hospital for treatment of injuries after the shooting or being interviewed by county police later.
According to detectives’ criminal complaint, Mr. Mazzocco told them he shot people in the bar. Asked why those people, police said, he said he didn’t know.
The judge said his assertion that he doesn’t remember what happened isn’t enough to make his statement inadmissible.
Mr. Mazzocco’s mother, Gloria, is scheduled for trial next month on a conspiracy charge and two weapons violations. Police said she provided her son the gun used in the shooting.
She told detectives that on March 10, she let Mr. Mazzocco take her two handguns to the house of a friend whose mother was interested in buying them.
Molly Born: email@example.com or 412-263-1944. Twitter: @borntolede.