West Mifflin man sentenced to prison on involuntary manslaughter

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A West Mifflin man was ordered to serve 3 1/2 to seven years in prison Tuesday for killing another near the Bloomfield Bridge last year. 

Jeff Barva-Hamlin, 29 was found guilty by a jury of homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter in April for the March 30, 2013, death of Chad Vida, 40, of Etna.

Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski also ordered Barva-Hamlin to serve two years of probation.

According to the prosecution, Barva-Hamlin and Vida got into an argument around noon that day on Fisk Street.

Barva-Hamlin was outside his girlfriend's home when Vida, who was walking past, insulted the LAW motorcycle club, to which Barva-Hamlin belongs. He was wearing a jacket with the club's colors.

A short time later, Barva-Hamlin, his girlfriend and her 5-year-old son left the house in a Kia Sportage and came across Vida.

Barva-Hamlin pulled over, exited the car and continued the argument.

But Barva-Hamlin testified that Vida was acting strangely, which prompted him to get back into the car. He claimed that as he pulled away, Vida jumped in front of his vehicle, and that it was an accident. But the prosecution argued Barva-Hamlin purposely struck the victim.

Vida suffered severe head injuries and died. Barva-Hamlin fled the scene, returned to the girlfriend's house and called 911.

He was charged with criminal homicide. 

At the sentencing hearing, the victim‘‍s father said the defendant deserved the most severe penalty possible.

“It was not necessary,” said Paul Vida. “This man could have walked away.” 

Vida’‍s mother, Michele, told the court she would miss her son‘‍s smile, hugs and watching him “perform his crazy, daredevil stunts — those precious things that make life worth living.”


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.


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