Plea deal proposed in stabbing death of Uniontown woman
A Fayette County man would serve a minimum of 20 years in jail if a judge approves a tentative plea deal reached on Tuesday for the stabbing death of a Uniontown woman.
Darius “Boo” Samuel, 22, of Uniontown was charged with homicide when a birthday party turned violent on Feb. 22 in a Fairchance bar, police said. He agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder.
Rashaunda Fitzgerald, 21, died in Uniontown Hospital of stab wounds in the upper chest that she suffered during the melee in the Goal Post Restaurant and Lounge on North Morgantown Road, state police at Uniontown said.
Assistant District Attorneys J.W. Eddy and Mark Mehalov said Samuel agreed to the plea offer shortly before a scheduled preliminary hearing before District Judge Randy Abraham.
Samuel will enter a general plea, and a judge will determine sentencing. The statutory minimum sentence for third-degree murder is 20 to 40 years in prison, Eddy said.
Samuel had been charged with assaulting three other Uniontown residents, all of whom suffered nonlethal stab wounds, police said.
Samuel originally had been charged with additional counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, simple assault and possession of a weapon. Trenton Branch, 25; Montaque Wilson, 21; and Cornell Neal, 25, were injured, state police said.
Eddy said because none of the three could be contacted. several charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment against Samuel were withdrawn.
Authorities used surveillance footage from inside and outside the Goal Post to piece together the events, District Attorney Jack Heneks previously said.
Samuel initially got into a fight with Devin Fitzgerald, the victim's brother, in the bar, police said. He then stabbed Wilson, Neal and Branch, according to a police affidavit.
Samuel waited outside the bar to again attack Devin Fitzgerald, police said. Rashaunda Fitzgerald was stabbed in the upper chest as she tried to intervene, authorities said.
“Surveillance shows Darius Lee Samuel confronting Devin Fitzgerald in front of the Goal Post Lounge, ending in Rashaunda Fitzgerald collapsing at the front door,” according to a police affidavit.
Authorities are uncertain what led to the melee.
Samuel told authorities Devin Fitzgerald assaulted him, so Samuel used his knife for protection, according to the affidavit. Samuel admitted to swinging the knife and stabbing people who were swinging at him, police said.
Fitzgerald's death was followed by a second tragedy in March, when her brother, De'Andre “DJ” Jones, 17, was one of two teenage boys killed in a South Union car crash.
Family members declined to comment at Tuesday's proceedings.
Samuel remains in Fayette County Prison, where he is being held without bond.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com.
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.
- Somerset Trust Train Station Complex in Connellsville to hold grand opening
- Fayette to open central district court
- Statements to stand in Connellsville High School athlete’s slaying
- Connellsville council told Highlands Hospital has prevention plan for Ebola
- Pa. candidates address equal rights, economic equity in Connellsville
- Frazier’s $22M school construction project moving on schedule
- Refurbishing Uniontown church’s grotto is Eagle Scout project
- New consignment store specializes in dance, formal wear
- Sewage plans for hotel, Sheetz OK’d by Connellsville council
- Sheetz to expand in Bullskin
- Halloween fun fills Connellsville community center