Verdict in Frazer woman’s trial for murder not expected until next week |
Valley News Dispatch

Verdict in Frazer woman’s trial for murder not expected until next week

Chuck Biedka
Allegheny County Jail
Teresa Drum

A Frazer woman accused of killing her husband will have to wait until next week to learn her fate .

Allegheny County Judge Jill Rangos, who heard the case against Teresa M. Drum of Crawford Run Road as a non-jury trial, said Thursday she will hand down a verdict on Thursday, March 28.

Drum, 40, is accused of fatally shooting her husband, Dennis Drum Sr., 42, in their house after a drunken argument about money, a burned tuna casserole, and a demand for sex.

Teresa Drum has been held in the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh since the Feb. 27, 2017, shooting.

On Thursday, defense attorney Lisa G. Middleman argued Drum was a battered woman who lived at the end of a lonely road, had only one friend, and was only defending herself.

Middleman said Drum and her husband struggled over his pistol after he pointed it at her head. A reasonable person confronted by a pistol pointed at her would be in fear for her life and defend herself, Middleman argued.

“Alcohol fueled the incident and confused it later,” Middleman said.

If Drum is found guilty, Middleman asked Rangos to rule for involuntary manslaughter or, at the most, voluntary manslaughter.

“The commonwealth was unable to prove that this was an intentional act,” Middleman said.

The prosecution believes there was a more than enough evidence to convict Drum of a more serious murder charge.

In his closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Bill Petulla said Drum should be found guilty of first-degree murder. He pointed out inconsistencies in Teresa Drum’s accounts of what happened that night. At first, he said, Drum told police her husband shot himself but, later, she gave police three versions of what happened, Petulla said.

How she reacted after the shooting also was telling, according to Petulla. Teresa Drum took a photo of her dead husband, sent it to a friend, took a shower and only then — 11 minutes later — called 911.

Petulla argued that those actions didn’t seem like those of someone who wanted to get her injured husband help.

Drum was in survivor mode and was “thinking only about herself” when she bypassed her 17-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter in a small hallway to get a shower.

She was “thinking only about herself,” Petulla argued. “Her purpose was not to save his life or preserve the family. It was all about self-preservation.”

He said the 9mm pistol used was held close to Dennis Drum’s head, “but there was no caked blood on the pistol. Someone wiped it down,” he said, adding it was all part of Teresa Drum’s cover-up attempt.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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