Pittsburgh man pleads guilty to murder in 2018 botched drug deal | TribLIVE.com
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Megan Guza

A man pleaded guilty Monday to killing another man in a botched drug deal last year in Pittsburgh’s South Oakland neighborhood, authorities said.

Shayne Craighead, 23, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder. Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani sentenced him to at least 17 years in prison for the 2018 shooting.

Craighead and another man, Velmon Dowling, were arrested March 27, a day after 24-year-old Hasan Ishmael Abdul-Rabb was found dead on Ward Street of a gunshot wound, according to police.

A witness told police that Abdul-Rabb picked him up as he was jogging in McKeesport and the pair drove to South Oakland, authorities said. They parked and two men later identified as Craighead and Dowling got into the backseats of Abdul-Rabb’s rental car, a Chevy Impala.

The witness said Abdul-Rabb got out of the vehicle along with the two men, and the witness heard a gunshot and took off, according to the criminal complaint.

Another witness reported seeing the suspected shooters take off and provided a photo of the license plate.

Dowling and Craighead sped off in the Chevy Impala, which was spotted near Mt. Oliver by a Zone 3 officer later that night, according to police. The driver noticed a police vehicle following behind the Impala and took off, and police called off the pursuit when the Impala headed toward Saw Mill Run Boulevard.

The driver crashed trying to turn right from Bausman Street to Saw Mill Run and then pulled into a nearby parking lot, according to the complaint. Dowling and Craighead took off, and both were arrested.

Dowling told police Craighead was staying at his South Oakland home, and he’d accompanied Craighead to Ward Street for a drug deal, according to the complaint.

Craighead told police in an interview that he’d shot once at Abdul-Rabb and took off in the Impala, later tossing the revolver he used off the Birmingham Bridge.

Craighead pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, robbery, robbery of a vehicle, receiving stolen property, fleeing, resisting arrest, tampering with evidence, firearms violations and drug charges. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors offered a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

Dowling, 24, is set for a jury trial April 1 on charges of robbery of a vehicle, conspiracy, receiving stolen property and drug violations. Charges of homicide and escape were previously withdrawn.

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