Retrial in 1997 Pittsburgh killing moved to July

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The retrial scheduled to start Tuesday of a man serving a life sentence for a 1997 Pittsburgh killing has been pushed back to July.

Taibu Grant won a new trial earlier this year after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said his lawyer in his 1997 trial made a series of "unprofessional errors."

The trial was supposed to start Tuesday but the Allegheny County district attorney's office asked for more time to conduct DNA tests on items found in a car that police recovered after the killing of Keith Gilliam.

Mr. Grant, of Brushton, was convicted of shooting Mr. Gilliam, 28, of East Liberty, outside the Where It's At bar in Lincoln-Lemington.

Mr. Grant insisted after the verdict was read that he was innocent and made a scene in the courtroom, swearing at the prosecutor and telling the jurors they were going to hell.

After exhausting his state court appeals, he filed a habeas petition in U.S. District Court in 2009. It was also rejected, but the 3rd Circuit overturned the lower court ruling in March and sent the case back to Common Pleas Court.

The appellate panel leveled most of the blame on Mr. Grant's lawyer, public defender Sumner Parker, criticizing him for not trying harder to impeach the state's only witness, Christopher Moore.

Mr. Moore was the sole witness to place Mr. Grant at the scene, while several other witnesses said he was not the shooter.

Police found no physical evidence to tie Mr. Grant to the killing.

The district attorney's office has repeatedly declined to comment on the case.

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Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.


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