Jury convicts man in New Kensington murder
By Rich Cholodovsky
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 7:16 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
A Westmoreland County jury on Tuesday convicted an Allegheny County man of first-degree murder for gunning down a Cleveland man on a New Kensington street two years ago.
The jury deliberated more than six hours before returning the guilty verdict against 21-year-old Anthony McWhite.
McWhite, of Crafton, was convicted for the April 3, 2010 shooting of Shawntez Thomas Weems, 23, of Cleveland on Constitution Boulevard.
McWhite showed no emotion when the verdict was announced, as his friends and family members sobbed in the first row of the courtroom of Judge Debra Pezze. No one attended the trial on behalf of the victim.
Pezze, at McWhite's request, immediately imposed a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
McWhite continued to maintain his innocence.
"I think the commonwealth knows who did it. It wasn't me. That is all I have to say," McWhite said before he was taken from the courtroom.
The jury started its deliberations at 10 a.m. after receiving brief legal instructions from Pezze.
The prosecution and defense gave closing arguments on Monday after six witnesses testified for the defense.
McWhite did not testify.
During the seven-day trial, the defense contended that other people in the New Kensington area had both the motive and opportunity to kill Weems, a known drug dealer in the city.
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