Colin Albright pulled his shirt up to his neck and held it over a stab wound sustained when a man slashed his throat in 2012 on a set of city steps. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed 911.
"Who did this to you?"
"I'm not sure."
"Are you bleeding?"
"Yes. Absolutely. All over the ... place."
A prosecutor intends to combine audio from Mr. Albright's 911 call with statements from the victim, police, a doctor and the suspect to show that Anthony Scholl Jr., 24, of West Mifflin attempted to kill Mr. Albright while he walked up city steps near Josephine Street carrying his bicycle Sept. 5, 2012.
The evidence will show that in the days after the attack, Pittsburgh police showed Mr. Albright several photo arrays of potential suspects and that he circled one of Mr. Scholl and wrote that it looked "very similar" to the man who attacked him, assistant district attorney Kevin Chernosky said in his opening statement.
It will also show, the prosecutor said, that while Mr. Scholl was detained, he described for police his involvement in the attack and said he was angry at Mr. Albright for cutting him off while he drove near the Hot Metal Bridge.
"For that crime, Anthony Scholl believed that Colin Albright had to die," Mr. Chernosky said.
But defense attorney Ryan Tutera warned the jury of seven women and five men to be skeptical of the prosecutor's account. Mr. Tutera said investigators will not be able to prove a motive for the crime, do not have DNA or fingerprint evidence, never found the weapon, and did not knock on the doors of the homes of those living near the city steps where the attack occurred.
As for Mr. Scholl's statements to police, which Mr. Tutera unsuccessfully tried to have suppressed, the attorney said that his client was "laboring at that time from a mental health condition."
"The commonwealth is only left with a statement by a crazy person who would be willing to say anything," Mr. Tutera said.
The trial for Mr. Scholl -- who faces charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person -- is expected to last three days. Shortly after its start Monday afternoon, the jury heard testimony from Mr. Albright.
The South Side Slopes resident, 25 at the time of the attack, said Sept. 5, 2012, was just like any other day, except that he left work at a Squirrel Hill bicycle shop late that night, around 10:30 p.m. He took his normal route home, sticking his bicycle on his shoulders while he walked up a set of city steps.
When he was about 20 steps away from the top, he felt something hit the rear wheel of his bicycle and saw a man behind him who appeared to have been running. He told the man to pass by him and then "felt just some hits along the back of my head," Mr. Albright said.
His first instinct, he said, was to think that the man was trying to steal his bike so he said, "You can take the bike. You can take the bike. Go ahead."
The man put his hand on the top of Mr. Albright's. Then, Mr. Albright said, he felt something cold on the left side of his neck.
"After a second of hesitation, he slit lengthwise," Mr. Albright said. "I didn't feel the injuries. ... I was too distracted by the extremity of the circumstances."
He pulled his shirt up to his neck, applied pressure and -- after his attacker left -- called 911. Partway through the roughly six-minute call, he told the 911 call-taker he was feeling light-headed.
"Who did this to you?"
"I do not know. I think it was road rage. I was cycling."
Medics took Mr. Albright to UPMC Mercy, where he remained for about a week. He said he had four stab wounds in the head that required 14 or 15 staples and one stab wound in the back. The slash made around his neck required about 21 stitches, he said, and while he was in the hospital he underwent one blood transfusion because he "was passing out pretty easily."
He told the court he still has not regained full function.
Before the court session ended for the day, Mr. Albright walked back and forth in front of the jury box, showing them the scars that remain.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published March 3, 2014 5:21 PM