Man charged with killing legislator's sister had previous arrests
January 26, 2016 12:30 AM
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
An attorney for the man accused of fatally shooting a state representative’s sister last week after she turned down his advances at a Homewood bar said Monday that he “doesn’t seem capable of that type of behavior.”
“I was told by the police that he was extremely intoxicated,” Wendy Williams said of her client Charles McKinney, who is charged with killing Ja-nese Jackson Talton, 29, outside Cliff’s Bar & Grill early Friday. “Even if he was intoxicated, he doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would do something like that.”
McKinney, 41, of Penn Hills, is in the Allegheny County Jail on charges including homicide, aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding police, drug possession with the intent to deliver, and gun violations. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 5.
Court records show that in 2012, McKinney was charged with aggravated assault and escape after police said he struck an officer with his shoulder, tried to run, then struggled with the officer on the ground. Those charges were withdrawn, and he later pleaded guilty to several misdemeanors. Ms. Williams, who represented him in that and other cases, said he was trying to get away from the police and didn’t injure anyone in the encounter.
Details of an aggravated assault case for which McKinney pleaded guilty in 2005 were not available.
One witness to the shooting on Friday was a state constable who knew the alleged gunman and identified him to police. Through a small window in the bar’s front door, the constable saw a flash from McKinney’s hip area and Ms. Talton falling to the ground, only moments after seeing McKinney twice try to come on to Ms. Talton, police wrote in an affidavit.
The constable chased McKinney before losing sight of him near Kedron Street. A friend of Ms. Talton’s reported seeing the constable chasing McKinney down North Lang Street, shouting for someone to call 911.
After calling 911, the friend “rolled [Talton] on her side as she was still breathing” and “consoled her until she died,” the affidavit continued. Ms. Talton was the sister of state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Lincoln-Lemington. He could not be reached for comment.
Police chased McKinney throughout several neighborhoods and opened fire when his “vehicle began to back up almost striking” two officers and then continued speeding toward several uniformed officers. The affidavit said that McKinney was shot in the left temple. Ms. Williams said a homicide detective told her the bullet grazed him there.
Public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler would not identify the two officers who fired the shots at McKinney’s vehicle, citing the ongoing investigation. They are on administrative leave.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @molly_born.