Homestead man headed to trial in fatal shooting
Charges have been held against a Homestead man accused of a deadly shooting in the borough earlier this month.
Ernest Gregory Williams, 38, appeared with his attorney, Kevin Abramovitz, before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riccardi on Friday for a preliminary hearing in connection with the shooting death of Jerrmie Fields, 39, of Homestead on Nov. 4.
Williams is accused of shooting Fields several times in the area of Nineteenth Avenue and McClure Street when the two spent the evening together drinking, first in Homestead and then at bars in Braddock and East Liberty.
Under questioning by the prosecution, Allegheny County homicide Detective Daniel Mayer told the judge two bloodstains were found on the left rear section of Williams' Ford 500 when police arrested him a few hours after the shooting.
Mayer said Williams initially was stopped in the area of the shooting in the immediate aftermath driving the Ford, then was let go.
Later, a car matching the description of his vehicle was identified on a surveillance video from a business located near the crime scene.
The video was not presented in court but Mayer said it shows Fields getting out of the front passenger door and circling around the rear of the car. A shooter then is seen exiting the driver's seat and firing at Fields.
Mayer said Fields fell when he was hit with the first shot. The shooter then walked up to him and fired several more shots.
When police interviewed Williams after his arrest, they said he told them he'd spent the evening with Fields, whose nickname was “Crime,” but never confessed to shooting him.
Williams, who went before the judge in shackles and an Allegheny County Jail jumpsuit, did not testify at the hearing.
Abramovitz argued the prosecution did not present enough evidence to merit the charges being held against his client, whom he said is not guilty.
The attorney said thousands of cars fit the description of the one seen in the surveillance video. He said police failed to recover a weapon from either Williams or his vehicle and investigators have yet to present a motive for the shooting.
“They were friends,” Abramovitz said outside of court. He said Williams was disappointed by the outcome of the hearing, adding, “He's sitting in jail right now on a very weak case, at best.”
Donna Torrez, who is related to the victim through marriage, said she hopes that justice is served.
“When you lose a family member, it's a very hard thing to deal with,” Torrez said.
Williams' formal arraignment is set for Dec. 23.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.