DA to seek death penalty in Beltzhoover killing

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Allegheny County's top prosecutor announced today that he will seek the death penalty against a Homewood man charged with killing a mother of six outside a Beltzhoover bar earlier this year.

According to a news release from his office, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. listed three reasons when he notified the court today that his office will seek the death penalty against Dorian Peebles, 22. Mr. Zappala wrote that Mr. Peebles killed Tiona Jackson, 28, while committing another felony, that he "created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim of the crime" and has a "significant history" of violent felony convictions.

Peebles and another man, James Lawrence, 21, of the East Hills, have been charged with killing Ms. Jackson outside Red's Bar in Beltzhoover Feb. 28. Pittsburgh police who responded to the shooting found Ms. Jackson with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and trunk. A 32-year-old man accompanying her, Nigel Pryor, 32, of Penn Hills, was severely injured in the shooting but survived.

After speaking to witnesses and watching surveillance footage, Pittsburgh homicide detectives determined that Ms. Jackson and Mr. Pryor had argued with some men inside the bar, according to a criminal complaint. Shortly after they left, police have said, a Pontiac Bonneville drove by and Mr. Peebles and Mr. Lawrence got out and shot Ms. Jackson and Mr. Pryor.

Attorney Blaine Jones, who is representing Mr. eebles, said, "All I can say at this point in time is I am deeply saddened by all of the violence in the city of Pittsburgh and no matter what happens in this case there are simply no winners."

Mr. Lawrence is awaiting a preliminary hearing in that case. He was held for trial last month on charges that he killed a man who got off a party bus that stopped in Sheraden after leaving the South Side in March.

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Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1438. Twitter: @LizNavratil.


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