Allegheny County DA will seek death penalty against East Hills man in 2nd case

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Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. announced today that he will seek the death penalty against a second man accused of killing a mother of six in Beltzhoover earlier this year.

Prosecutors said James L. Lawrence, 21, of the East Hills, killed Tiona Jackson, 28, and injured another man outside a bar in February.

Mr. Zappala is already seeking capital punishment for Mr. Lawrence in another homicide case: the March killing in Sheraden of Steven Lee, 21 of McKees Rocks.

Mr. Lawrence's co-defendants in each case are also facing that possible outcome: Michael Lyons, 23, of Homewood, in Mr. Lee's death, and Dorian Peebles, 22, of Homewood, in Ms. Jackson's.

Mr. Zappala cited aggravated circumstances in pursuit of the death penalty against Mr. Lawrence in today's announcement, including that the killing occurred during the perpetration of a felony and that he knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person.


Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944. Twitter: @borntolede.


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