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Penn Hills man pleads guilty to New Kensington killing

Rich Cholodofsky
| Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, 4:09 p.m.

An Allegheny County man pleaded guilty this week to a fatal shooting in New Kensington last year.

Daquane Faulk told Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Rita Hathaway that he initially wanted to plead no contest or insane for the June 5, 2016, murder of Todd Rogers Bell in a Parnassus alley.

But when told that prosecutors would not allow Faulk, 25, of Penn Hills to enter an insanity plea and that the judge would not accept a no contest plea, he agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of third-degree murder.

“That's the only plea I can take right now. It's lesser time,” Faulk said, according a transcript of Tuesday's hearing.

Faulk's mental state became an issue before the trial, but Hathaway ruled earlier this year that he was competent to stand trial.

Assistant District Attorney Larry Koenig agreed to dismiss the most serious charge of first-degree murder, which carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for a conviction. Hathaway imposed terms of the plea bargain in which Faulk was sentenced to serve 20 to 40 years in prison for Bell's murder. The judge also imposed a consecutive sentence of five to 10 years for illegal possession of a firearm.

Faulk pleaded guilty to the assault of a guard at the county jail but received no additional prison time for that offense.

Those guilty pleas came just before jury selection for the murder case was set to begin.

Faulk was arrested five days after Bell was found dead in the New Kensington alley. Police found Faulk in Wilkinsburg wearing the same bulletproof vest witnesses said he had on when Bell was shot.

An eyewitness testified during a preliminary hearing in November that Faulk and Bell argued in an apartment and continued the fight on the street where Bell was shot at twice, including once as he lay on the ground.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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