Defense attorney requests delay in fatal shooting near Munhall strip club
The preliminary hearing for a Munhall man accused in a fatal shooting was postponed on Friday for a third time.
Paul Barone, 23, was scheduled to go before Magisterial District Judge Randy Martini on charges of homicide and a firearms violation.
His new hearing date is April 26 at 8:30 a.m.
The charges stem from the March 3 murder of John Sumpter IV, 32, of Pittsburgh, in his vehicle parked on Este Way outside Club Pink in Munhall.
Before Friday morning's hearing began, prosecutors learned that one of their witnesses was attempting to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.
Attorneys for the prosecution, defense and the witness had to go from Pittsburgh Municipal Court to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to determine if the witness could make that claim. The parties went before Common Pleas Judge Beth Lazzara, who reportedly determined the witness didn't have to testify about certain aspects of the night of the shooting.
“She said he can testify to certain things and not to others,” Barone's attorney Kevin Abramovitz said. “My understanding was always that it was all or nothing. I didn't expect the ruling.”
He requested a postponement after Lazzara's decision.
“Now we have to do research on the best way to represent Mr. Barone,” Abramovitz said.
Attorney Chris Urbano said he was just retained on Thursday night by the unnamed witness.
“The judge said the Fifth Amendment privilege extends to him with regards to certain areas of testimony,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Avetta declined comment on the matter.
A Munhall police officer was patrolling the area of Club Pink at 936 E. Eighth Ave. on March 3 at around 4 a.m. when he heard several gunshots, according to the criminal complaint. It said the officer observed a dark-colored vehicle back down Munn Street, strike a fence at the intersection with Este Way, and drive forward on Este Way at a high rate of speed. The officer determined the vehicle was an Audi, obtained its license plate number and alerted other police units.
The Audi stopped when it reached the 1400 block of Ravine Street and a man later identified as Barone ran out of the right rear door into a wooded area, according to court documents. They said Barone was found on a hillside crouched down on a ledge and was taken into custody. Two other people in the Audi also were taken into custody, then released. Police found a .40-caliber Glock 22 pistol after searching the path where Barone ran, according to the criminal complaint.
Sumpter was found in his vehicle with a gunshot to the head near Club Pink and was pronounced dead at 4:04 a.m. His vehicle was struck with gunfire several times and its engine was running. An Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Mobile Crime Unit scientist found that a fragment of a spent projectile next to Sumpter's vehicle “was consistent from being fired from a Glock.”
Barone had bloodstains on his jacket, shoes and shirt, according to the criminal complaint. It said law enforcement determined a person captured on surveillance footage firing a gun in the direction of Sumpter's vehicle was Barone.
A witness also told police he saw Barone firing a gun at Sumpter's vehicle and later out of the Audi as it drove away, according to court documents.
Since the shooting, Munhall council revoked the occupancy permit of Club Pink, citing violations of the borough's adult entertainment ordinance. The business closed at midnight on Thursday and an attorney representing the club's owners said they likely will appeal council's decision.
Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Munhall officials miffed at ex-manager for leaving town
- County investigators determine fatal McKeesport fire started in living room
- West Mifflin official: Buyer expected soon for old administration building
- McKeesport lawmaker’s bill would fund more police by upping fines
- W. Mifflin backs drilling at airport
- Clairton residents share concerns over sewage bills
- West Mifflin Area schools boost security in response to threat against student
- Glassport plaque gets new home
- White Oak Holocaust survivor continues to share tragic story
- Teen’s family turns tragedy into lesson for McKeesport students
- McKeesport Area first-grader brings toy gun on school bus