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Latrobe teen showing off stolen gun to rap music beat to stand trial for 15-year-old's death

Paul Peirce
| Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, 3:36 p.m.
Andrew Braddy, 17, of Latrobe arrives for a preliminary hearing at the office of District Judge Joseph DeMarchis on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Braddy is charged as an adult with fatally shooting Devin Capasso, 15.
Paul Peirce / Tribune-Review
Andrew Braddy, 17, of Latrobe arrives for a preliminary hearing at the office of District Judge Joseph DeMarchis on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Braddy is charged as an adult with fatally shooting Devin Capasso, 15.
Andrew Braddy, 17, of Latrobe arrives for a preliminary hearing at the office of District Judge Joseph DeMarchis on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Braddy is charged as an adult with fatally shooting Devin Capasso, 15. /Paul Peirce photo
Paul Peirce / Tribune-Review
Andrew Braddy, 17, of Latrobe arrives for a preliminary hearing at the office of District Judge Joseph DeMarchis on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Braddy is charged as an adult with fatally shooting Devin Capasso, 15. /Paul Peirce photo

A Latrobe teenager was showing off a stolen handgun to friends, listening to rap music, when he pulled the trigger and killed a 15-year-old, a Westmoreland County detective testified Monday.

District Judge Joseph DeMarchis in Jeannette ruled that sufficient evidence was presented during an hour-long preliminary hearing for Andrew Braddy, 17, to stand trial for homicide, theft and firearm-related charges in the Aug. 29 shooting death of Devin Capasso, 15, also of Latrobe.

Capasso was shot in an apartment Braddy shared with Dylan K. Walklin, 24, and 18-year-old Xoie Rhodes. He was pronounced dead at the scene from a single gunshot to the torso.

Braddy allegedly told Detective Ray Dupilka in an interview after the shooting that he, Capasso and four others were in the fourth-floor apartment at 330 Main St. He said he and Walklin showed the group two handguns stolen from vehicles within the past week, Dupilka testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Tom Grace.

The group was listening to rap music about 6:30 p.m. “and Mr. Braddy said he became excited to the music,” said Dupilka, the only person to testify. “(Braddy) said he began manipulating the components of the firearm ... racking the slide ... moving it around to the music.

“Braddy said he pointed it at Devin, told him, ‘I'm going to shoot you,' and pulled the trigger,” Dupilka testified.

DeMarchis ordered Braddy to stand trial on charges of homicide, carrying a firearm without a license, theft, receiving stolen property and two counts each of illegal possession of a firearm by a minor and possessing firearms without a license.

Braddy, who is charged as an adult, is being held without bond in the Regional Youth Services Center in Hempfield.

Braddy allegedly told Dupilka and Latrobe Detective John Sleasman he stole the 9mm Glock handgun believed to be the murder weapon from a car in Derry Township on Aug. 25 and another 9 mm Smith and Wesson handgun from a vehicle in Unity earlier in the week.

Dupilka said authorities are awaiting test results to determine which stolen gun killed Capasso, who was starting his freshman year at Greater Latrobe High School.

When first questioned that evening, Dupilka said, Braddy denied he was in the apartment when Capasso was shot.

“Initially, he said he was returning from the Dollar General store, walking to his apartment, when he saw a masked man carrying two handguns come down the hallway. He said the man instructed him to get rid of the handguns or he'd kill him (Braddy) and his family,” Dupilka said.

The detective said Braddy admitted his involvement within a half hour.

Dupilka testified Braddy and Zachary Drexler, also of the Latrobe area, fled the apartment and hid the handguns several blocks away in some hedges on Alexandria Alley. Investigators later recovered both guns.

Braddy's attorney, John Hauser III of Latrobe, pleaded not guilty on his behalf. He declined comment after the hearing.

The proceeding was moved to DeMarchis's office from Unity District Judge Michael Mahady's office following a court hearing before Common Pleas Court Judge Richard McCormick. McCormick removed Mahady from presiding over Braddy's preliminary hearing because he refused to sign a complaint that charged Braddy with a general count of criminal homicide.

McCormick sided with District Attorney John Peck and ruled in the hearing that Mahady could not fairly preside over the case and ordered DeMarchis to handle the hearing.

Family members of Capasso declined to comment following Monday's hearing.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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