Aside from a few people awaiting the next case, the gallery of Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning's courtroom was empty.
There were no grieving family members lined up behind the prosecution table. None on the defense side either.
No one was there for Elaina Davis, who was raped, strangled and set on fire in August 2011 in an Uptown alley.
And no one was there for Nathan Williams, 30, of Mount Washington, who was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole for first-degree murder in her slaying.
"It just struck me at how tragic it is on both sides," said Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli after the hearing. "Neither the victim nor defendant had any support system on either side.
"Nobody cared if they lived or died."
Davis' body was found in a secluded alley on Aug. 28, 2011. She was a homeless woman who worked as a prostitute, and she had no family in the area.
Williams, who previously served three years in prison, was arrested in November, after police matched his DNA to that found under Davis' nails and in her vagina.
The pink shoelace with which she was strangled had his DNA on it as well.
During his sentencing, Williams complained to Judge Manning that his attorney, Lisa Middleman, did not properly represent him.
The day his trial was scheduled to start in July, Williams attempted to fire her and represent himself, causing a scene in court. He ultimately accepted her representation.
In a four-page letter he wrote to the court, Williams claimed Ms. Middleman failed to file the motions he wanted.
"Had Ms. Middleman correctly fought my case and treated me as the innocent man that I am, the outcome would have been different," he wrote.
Judge Manning, however, praised the public defender's work and told Williams his claims were not warranted.neigh_city - neigh_south
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.