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Hearing postponed in fatal strip club shooting

| Saturday, March 16, 2013, 12:26 a.m.
Stacy Lee | Daily News
Friends and family have created a memorial for John Sumpter IV of Pittsburgh who was fatally shot outside of Club Pink on March 3.

The preliminary hearing for a Pittsburgh man accused of a deadly shooting outside a Munhall strip club has been continued until next week.

Paul Barone, 23, of Munhall, was scheduled to have a hearing on Friday in connection with the death of John Sumpter IV, 32, of Pittsburgh. The proceedings were postponed because of concerns Barone's lawyer could have a conflict of interest in the case.

Neither defense attorney Kevin Abramovitz nor assistant district attorney Lisa Pellegrini would elaborate on the potential conflict.

Abramovitz said it was “possible” he would be Barone's attorney at the hearing next week. He said he hoped the matter would be settled as early as this weekend.

“To the extent that I'm involved, I'm going to do everything I can do to protect his rights,” Abramovitz said, referring to his client.

Barone is accused of shooting Sumpter outside Club Pink along E. Eighth Avenue on March 3 at 4 a.m. as the club was closing. An on-duty Munhall police officer reported seeing the fatal shooting from a distance. Sumpter was pronounced dead in his vehicle.

It was later determined he died from wounds to his head and right extremities.

Barone allegedly left the crime scene in a black Audi. Police stopped the vehicle on Ravine Street and captured Barone in nearby woods after a foot chase.

Police recovered a gun and indicated there is video footage from a nearby business that shows Barone firing the shots.

Abramovitz said he could not discuss the case beyond what was in the arrest reports and said he has yet to see any video evidence against his client.

Family and friends of Sumpter and Barone were in attendance Friday morning. None would discuss the case publicly, though one man on the victim's side of the courtroom said outside of Sumpter, “He was a good man.”

Two days after the shooting, Club Pink co-owner Bob Marino met with the Allegheny County District Attorney's office and agreed to close the business until Friday.

Marino described the closure as a “cooling down period” but the district attorney's office said the agreement was made to give the club time to address deficiencies involving local zoning ordinances and the crimes code.

Marino said Friday morning he intended to reopen the club that night.

Munhall officials have scheduled a public hearing on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in council chambers to hear testimony on whether Club Pink is a nuisance bar or violates the borough ordinance on adult entertainment.

Barone remains in the Allegheny County Jail without bail. His rescheduled preliminary hearing is set for March 22 at 11 a.m.

Eric Slagle is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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