Carnegie man pleads guilty to fatally shooting stepfather

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A Carnegie man pleaded guilty to third-degree murder Thursday in the shooting death last year of his stepfather.

Aaron Israel, 20, will serve seven to 14 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.

"It was a reasonable resolution of a difficult case," said defense attorney Chuck Porter.

His stepfather, Kevin Kirkland, was killed following a fight about 2:30 a.m. on July 28.

According to the criminal complaint, Israel's mother, Maria Kirkland, had been in a domestic dispute with her husband during the day on July 27 and asked her son to come to her East Carnegie home and change the locks on the house.

Israel did that, but when Kevin Kirkland arrived home later that night, he was locked out and forced his way in through a first-floor window, the complaint said.

When Kevin Kirkland got in the house, he saw that his television that had been on the first floor was missing, and he called Israel to find out if he'd taken it -- not knowing that it had been moved upstairs.

According to Mr. Porter, Israel then went to the house to check on his mother, and he and Kevin Kirkland got into an argument.

It then turned into a fight between Israel and Kevin Kirkland's son.

Kevin Kirkland and another friend broke up the fight, police said, but "abruptly, Israel pulled a black gun from the front of his waistband" and fired multiple shots, hitting the victim in the chest.

"It's a very sad case," Mr. Porter said.

Assistant district attorney Bill Petulla called only one witness, Kevin Kirkland's daughter, Brionna Kirkland.

"I wish I could just tell him I love him one more time," she told Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos. "I miss his advice. I miss all his jokes. I miss our long talks."

Addressing the defendant, she said, "You took someone special from us, and nothing can take this pain away that I feel inside."


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard. First Published May 22, 2014 12:00 PM

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