Conviction in deaths of unborn child, mom
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A Hill District man Thursday was convicted of two counts of third-degree murder in connection with the shooting deaths of his cousin and her unborn child.
Deaondre Williams, 23, faces up to 40 years in prison for each of the killings. Shalane Graham, 20, was eight to 10 weeks pregnant when she was shot Nov. 28, 2008.
Mr. Williams also was found guilty of possessing a firearm without a license.
Sentencing was set for 9 a.m. Feb. 2.
The nonjury trial, which began Monday before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani, included the playing of a harrowing call to 911 moments after the shooting. Police found the victim on the living-room floor, dead from a single gunshot.
Several people had attended a post-funeral gathering at Ms. Graham's Burrows Street apartment before the shooting. A few who remained, including a woman, Sharaya Kent, who called 911, fled before police arrived.
Witnesses testified that Mr. Williams had been seen with a pistol in his pocket that night, the same weapon police found near him when they forced their way inside and found him behind a door, his clothes heavily bloodstained.
Defense attorney Veronica Brestensky argued that no witnesses reported seeing Mr. Williams fire the weapon, and they did not see who shot Ms. Graham. The defense called no witnesses to testify, and Mr. Williams chose not to take the stand in his defense.
No motive was given for the slayings.
Correction/Clarification: (Published October 30, 2010) A judge ruled Thursday that defendant Deaondre Williams did not have to know that his cousin was pregnant in order to be convicted of third-degree murder of the fetus. A story Friday was incorrect on the judge's ruling. Victim Shalane Graham was killed by a single gunshot and was found on the living-room floor. An incorrect location and number of shots also were included in the story. The 911 caller was Sharaya Kent; an incorrect name was given.
First Published October 29, 2010 12:00 am