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3 men accused of stabbing Steeler acquitted of most serious charges

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 12:01 p.m.
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Steelers right tackle Mike Adams sent out this photo from his Twitter account (@Channel75live) stating: 'Me and my guy @rkay85 relaxing! #roadtorecovery.' Adams was hospitalized after being stabbed during an apparent robbery attempt on the South Side early Saturday, June 1, 2013.

An Allegheny County jury on Wednesday declined to find anyone responsible for a stabbing that hospitalized a Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman for four days.

The three defendants' lawyers told reporters outside the courtroom they believe the jurors found problems with Mike Adams' changing version of what happened to him outside the Cambod-Ican Kitchen early June 1 in the South Side.

“The bottom line is these gentlemen are innocent. The jury did what they're supposed to do,” said Dquay Means' lawyer, Fred Rabner.

The jury deliberated for about five hours before acquitting Means, 26, Michael Paranay, 26, and Jerrell Whitlock, 27, all of Hazelwood, of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, attempted robbery and conspiracy. Means and Whitlock were convicted of fleeing.

Adams could not be reached, and Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten declined to comment. The jury of eight men and four women also declined, as did Assistant District Attorney Christopher Stone.

Paranay was expected to be released from the county jail on Wednesday night. Lawyers for Means and Whitlock said they plan to file a motion on Thursday for their clients' release. All three defendants have been in custody since their arrests in June.

Adams initially told police he was stabbed during a fight. Then Adams said one of his attackers pointed a gun at his face in an attempt to carjack him. Adams later said his attackers showed him a gun but didn't pull it out.

The defense claimed Adams lied to investigators because he was on “thin ice” with the team because he tested positive for marijuana before the 2012 NFL draft. Additionally, the defense said Adams couldn't have provided an accurate account of what happened because his blood-alcohol content was 0.185 percent, more than twice the legal limit to drive.

A defense expert testified that the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Adams would have had to consume 28 drinks in eight hours to be that drunk.

Paranay's mother said his story never changed. Debbie Paranay said her son told her about the incident before he talked with detectives.

“He said he punched him,” Paranay said. “That's all he did. He punched him.”

Paranay told detectives a few days later that the “humongous” Adams bumped into him — causing him to drop his chicken shish kabobs and his cellphone — so he punched Adams in the face and ran. He maintained he didn't know who stabbed Adams.

“I'm ecstatic,” his mother said. “Justice was served, and my boy is coming home.”

Randall McKinney, Paranay's lawyer, said jurors seemed to believe Paranay's version.

“I think the jury saw that (Paranay's) story never wavered. His story was much more believable,” McKinney said.

Stone called several people during the trial who said they witnessed the altercation. None of them saw Means, Whitlock or Paranay with a gun or a knife. What the prosecution's witnesses heard on the street varied drastically from what defense witnesses heard.

None of the lawyers had anything negative to say on Wednesday about Adams, who did not appear in court after testifying last week. The trial began on April 22.

“Hopefully, he does well for the Steelers, and hopefully, our guys do well for society,” Bill Difenderfer, Whitlock's lawyer, said.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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