An East Liberty man was found not guilty Tuesday on all charges related to two separate homicides and a third shooting that occurred within a one-month span in the spring of 2012.
Julian Davis, 22, testified on his own behalf on Friday afternoon, denying his involvement in all three incidents. He was represented by assistant public defender Christopher Patarini.
The jury began its deliberations Monday afternoon and was out about 71/2 hours over two days before returning its verdict about 2 p.m.
Mr. Davis was accused in the April 21, 2012, shooting death of Ricardo Cooper, 30, the May 13, 2012, slaying of Shakkeem Harris, 22, and the shooting of another man, who said he saw Mr. Davis holding the gun.
Experts testified at the trial that the same weapon was used in all three shootings.
Mr. Davis said Friday that he bought marijuana from Cooper, and that he played video games with the man, but that he didn't learn he'd been shot and killed until a week later.
As for the death of Harris, Mr. Davis said that the men were good friends, and they went to Joe Natoli Field in Morningside to hang out that night, when they got a call from someone who wanted to buy marijuana. Two people then met them in the field, Mr. Davis said, and one of them was Cooper's cousin, who immediately went after Harris -- accusing him of killing Cooper.
"They started arguing -- almost instantly," Mr. Davis said. "They started tussling. I just hear a shot."
He said the other man there pulled a gun on him.
"Dude tried to pull a gun on me, started squeezing the trigger," Mr. Davis said. "It didn't go off, so I rushed him."
He told the jurors he then fled the scene.
"I didn't want to get shot."
Mr. Davis testified that he learned about Harris' death the next day.
Following the verdict before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III, the families of the victims sobbed hysterically in the courthouse hallways, prompting a heavy presence of Allegheny County sheriff's deputies.
The district attorney's office had no comment following the verdict.
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620.