Lawyer in shooting case near Brashear says 'no one ... can place a gun in my client's hands'

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The preliminary hearing for a teenager accused of shooting three teenagers near Pittsburgh Brashear High School in Beechview last month was postponed after several witnesses failed to appear in court today.

Anjohnito Willet, 16, remains in the Allegheny County Jail with his bail set at $500,000. He was charged as an adult with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and a gun violation.

Pittsburgh police have said Anjohnito fired seven or eight shots from some woods across Crane Avenue, striking two teenagers in the head and a third in the arm. A fourth was uninjured.

While building their case against Anjohnito, homicide detectives spoke to a friend who said he walked with Anjohnito that afternoon from Rockland Avenue toward the school less than a mile away.

As they grew close to the school, a "large group of students" came into view and the friend left, then heard about three gunshots that were "extremely loud and in very close proximity to them," according to a criminal complaint. That friend turned around and saw Anjohnito firing toward Crane Avenue, police wrote.

Two of the three students who were injured -- DaJour Jones, 15, and Robert "Eugene" Minor III, 17 -- were charged as juveniles in an earlier attempted robbery at Brashear in which school police said Anjohnito was the victim. Pittsburgh police have said they suspected that earlier fight provided the motive for the shooting.

Defense attorney Blaine Jones, who spoke publicly for the first time today about the charges his client faces, denied that assertion.

"There is no motive," Mr. Jones said. "He did not threaten them after that happened."

Mr.Jones said he has not seen them yet but his client and his client's family have told him that records will show that Anjohnito did not threaten the students accused of assaulting him on Twitter, Facebook or via phone call or text message.

Mr. Jones said his client told him, "I left it alone."

He also said following the postponement that prosecutors have "no one at this point in time that can place a gun in my client's hands."

Mike Manko, spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office, declined to comment on Mr. Jones' statements or on why some witnesses did not appear.

But, he said, "We fully expect to be ready on Jan. 8," the new preliminary hearing date.


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