15-year-old ambushed, shot to death was witness in homicide case

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The 15-year-old key witness in a Duquesne homicide case was ambushed by two people and shot to death today, county police and an attorney said.

Leroy Powell of Duquesne was shot just before 1:45 p.m. in the 1000 block of Crawford Avenue, an Allegheny County dispatch supervisor said.

He was taken to UPMC McKeesport’s emergency room, where he was pronounced dead at 2:14 p.m., according to the medical examiner's office. A spokesman there identified the teenager and said an autopsy will be performed Thursday.

Police worked today to get descriptions of the suspects, which will likely be released Thursday morning, said James Morton, assistant superintendent for the Allegheny County police.

On July 30, Leroy had testified at a preliminary hearing for Eric Taylor, 15, that he hadn’t seen Eric with a gun after a friend of his, DaRae Delgado, also 15, who was seven months pregnant, was shot.

Earlier, just days after DaRae was shot and lost her unborn son, Leroy told police Eric had a gun in his hands. It was a crucial turning point for what defense attorney Blaine Jones described as the star witness in the case.

Magisterial District Judge James Hanley Jr. ruled that there was still enough evidence to order Eric to stand trial as an adult on charges of homicide, attempted homicide and other crimes. Eric is charged with shooting DaRae and her fetus while DaRae stood in the doorway of her Duquesne home about 12:30 a.m. May 26.

Before being charged in the death of DaRae’s unborn son, Eric was already being held in the Allegheny County Jail on charges that he shot two other people in Duquesne on May 27. The charges in that case have been withdrawn, court records show.

Mr. Jones said his heart goes out to Leroy’s family and friends.

“People don’t realize when one person dies, there are reverberations for the family and the neighborhood. They’re so deep. It’s this cycle of fear accompanied by a cycle of violence,” he said. He declined to comment specifically on the case.

Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc. First Published August 6, 2014 12:00 AM


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