Hearing for suspect in fatal shooting outside Jeannette football game delayed, moved
The Jeannette man accused of fatally shooting another man outside the crowded city high school stadium earlier this month will have his preliminary hearing at the county courthouse because of security and space issues.
Greg A. Harper, 40, of Jeannette, is charged with homicide and reckless endangerment in the shooting death of Dameian L. Williams, 48, of Jeannette, as the Jayhawks and Imani Christian Academy high school game headed into its final minutes. Harper has been held without bail in the county prison since his arrest Sept. 6 outside McKee Stadium.
His hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in President Common Pleas Court Judge Rita D. Hathaway’s courtroom on the third floor of the courthouse. It had been scheduled for Thursday in the Jeannette office of District Judge Joseph DeMarchis, who will preside.
“I requested the move due to security and courtroom space issues at this office. I just don’t think the courtroom here could handle the potential number of people who may attend that hearing,” DeMarchis said.
Williams died of his wounds just before 10 p.m. in the emergency room of Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, according to county Coroner Ken Bacha.
Patrolman Thomas Yaniszeski and county Detective Ray Dupilka said both men were attending the game. Harper reportedly told investigators that Williams approached him and asked him to talk outside the stadium. Once they were outside the north gate, Harper claimed, Williams hit him twice in the head, “knocking (Harper) to the ground.”
According to police, Harper said he then pulled out a .40-caliber handgun and shot Williams once in the torso, and Williams collapsed.
In court documents, Yaniszeski said when he approached the shooting scene, he recognized Harper — with long dreadlocks and wearing a gray athletic jersey — standing near the north gate of the stadium.
As he approached Harper, Yaniszeski “observed a bulge similar to the size of a handgun in the center area of his waistband.”
Yaniszeski said Harper did not reply when asked whether he had any weapons, and he was subdued by police and frisked. Officers found a .40-caliber handgun in Harper’s waistband, Yaniszeski reported.
Police said they recovered a .40-caliber cartridge casing “near Williams’ body.”
County detectives said Harper had a license to carry the gun.
Investigators said they are investigating why the altercation occurred.
The game was suspended by referees after the shooting and the stadium evacuated. Jeannette won the game 48-0.
The shooting resulted in increased security at Jeannette’s home football games. Fans are now required to be searched by metal detecting wands as they enter the stadium.
Court dockets indicate Harper has hired Monroeville criminal defense attorney Patrick Thomassey to represent him. Thomassey did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .