At issue in Westmoreland County drug shooting trial: Who robbed whom?
A Westmoreland County jury on Thursday heard a preview of a Jeannette man's defense to charges that he shot a friend in an attempted robbery when prosecutors played a tape recording of a police interview with the accused gunman.
Demarco “Loyal” Jackson, 25, claimed in the interview — 12 hours after the 3:30 a.m. shooting on Sept. 1 — that it was Dante Wiley Jr., 27, also of Jeannette, who pulled out a .45-caliber handgun that discharged and hit Victor Bailey, formerly of Trafford.
In the interview, Jackson claims that Wiley attempted to rob him of heroin and money he stored in a safe in his apartment, and the pair was “tussling” over control of the handgun when it fired.
This week jurors heard testimony from both Bailey and Wiley that it was Jackson who pulled the gun and shot Bailey in the back as he ran out of the apartment.
Both Bailey and Wiley testified that Jackson, who previously lived in Georgia and Pittsburgh, was attempting to rob them.
District Attorney John Peck is expected to conclude his case on Friday morning in Jackson's trial for aggravated assault, robbery and possession of heroin. Jackson's attorney, Jim Fox, will then present the defense.
Judge Al Bell has informed jurors that they likely will hear closing arguments and begin deliberations Monday.
After the tape was played, county detectives Robert Weaver and John Clark testified that Jackson kept “changing his story” during interviews.
Weaver said Jackson initially said he was standing next to a large radiator in Jackson's apartment. Then he claimed it was Wiley who was standing there.
Jackson said, “Mr. Wiley was in the apartment, counting money from his pocket, when Mr. Wiley pulled out a gun and said to give up everything in the safe,” according to Weaver.
Under cross-examination by Fox, Weaver said Jackson voluntarily told officers that he stored between 50 and 100 bags of heroin in the safe. Detectives testified that 96 stamp bags of heroin were subsequently confiscated from the safe, along with 0.17 of a gram of loose heroin.
Jackson “said he was keeping the safe in his apartment for a friend whom he wouldn't identify,” Weaver said.
Clark testified that he interviewed the victim four days later because Bailey had been sedated in Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he was taken after the shooting. Bailey told jurors that he suffered nerve damage and had to learn how to walk again.
In his interview in the hospital, Bailey identified Jackson as the shooter.
Both Bailey and Wiley told police that Jackson shot Bailey when Wiley ran from the apartment because Jackson pulled out a gun.
Fox has not said whether Jackson will take the stand in his defense. His live-in girlfriend, Courtney Petty, who was in the apartment when the shooting occurred, is expected to testify for the defense.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 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.
- Corbett, Wolf bring gubernatorial campaign to Greensburg
- Fay-West food banks feeling hunger pains
- Flight 93 memorial fire hints at struggle to safeguard historic artifacts
- DEP orders cleanup of former Jeannette Glass property to resume
- Southwest Greensburg man died of injuries in accident in Bell
- Physicist found joy in family, friends, work, wine
- Derry man jailed in scuffle with police
- The real Captain Phillips brings story of piracy to St. Vincent College
- Laurel Mountain State Park ski plans will go to Ligonier Township supervisors
- Route 217 bridge across Loyalhanna Creek reopens early
- Kin of 2013 DUI crash victim in Hempfield lose young family in fire