Week in review: Election Day upsets, accused cop killer trial and Wilson’s Bar-B-Q fire | TribLIVE.com
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Week in review: Election Day upsets, accused cop killer trial and Wilson’s Bar-B-Q fire

Jacob Tierney

The past week in Western Pennsylvania featured Election Day surprises, a death-penalty trial and a fire at a beloved Pittsburgh restaurant. Here’s a look back at some of the top stories you may have missed.

Cashless tolling

By late 2021, the 552 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be fully converted to a “cashless” tolling system, turnpike commission officials said. After a pair of pilot conversions — including on Turnpike 66 in Westmoreland County — the remaining sections of the east-west mainline, the Northeastern Extension (I-476) and the Mon/Fayette Expressway south of Pittsburgh are scheduled to be converted in the fall of 2021.

New sheriff in town

A shake-up is coming to the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, but no one will lose their job in the process, the new sheriff-elect said after defeating the two-term Republican incumbent. Voters selected James Albert, 69, a Democrat from New Alexandria, over Jonathan Held to take over the office that in recent years was marred by lawsuits, criminal charges and personnel controversies. Albert retired in 2016 after serving for nearly three decades as a district judge in Greensburg.

Surprise Biden visit

When Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald claimed victory Tuesday night in his race for a third term, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden was there to congratulate him. “This is a helluva man and a helluva family,” the former vice president said of Fitzgerald at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 5 in Pittsburgh’s South Side. Fitzgerald spent 11 years as president of county council prior to running for the county’s top post in 2012. He defeated Republican challenger Matt Drozd.

Restaurant fire

The owner of Wilson’s Bar-B-Q on Pittsburgh’s North Side said Wednesday he is sorting out what the future holds after a fire destroyed his popular business the night before. George Wilson Jr. said the North Taylor Avenue building, where he also lived, doesn’t appear to be insured. Before his father, George Wilson Sr., died in October 2018, he told his son the insurance was paid up for a year. Wilson said he had been researching policies during the past few weeks. The Red Cross is putting up Wilson and his girlfriend, Lynn Hogan, at a hotel.

death penalty trial

The trial of accused cop killer Rahmael Holt began. Holt is accused of shooting New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw on Nov. 17, 2017. Westmoreland County prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against Holt if the jury convicts him of Shaw’s murder. The trial featured testimony from eyewitnesses and forensic experts. Shaw was chasing Holt, who police said was fleeing from a traffic stop.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
James Albert, a Democratic candidate who was elected Westmoreland County sheriff, surveys the crowd at his election night party at Rizzo’s Malabar Inn in Crabtree on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Former Vice President Joe Biden shakes Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s hand during an event celebrating the reelection of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on the South Side on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.
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Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
George Wilson Jr. surveys what remains of his namesake barbecue restaurant on North Taylor Street in Pittsburgh’s Mexican War Streets neighborhood on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019.
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Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
On the first day of trial, Rahmael Sal Holt, the man accused of shooting and killing New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw, is brought into the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg, on Monday, Nov. 4, 2019.
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