Monessen men get probation for shooting after evidence problems thwart retrial
Two men implicated in a nonfatal shooting nearly two years ago in Monessen were sentenced to probation.
Joseph “Jo Jo” Heath III, 29, of Monessen, pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges of simple assault, reckless endangerment and making terroristic threats in connection with the June 25, 2017, shooting of Timothy “Boo” Kershaw.
Heath was sentenced Monday by Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani to serve five years on probation. Prosecutors dismissed felony counts of attempted murder, conspiracy and robbery.
Rashawn Ford, 23, also of Monessen, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to serve one year on probation. Two conspiracy counts were dismissed.
Ford, who had been in jail for the last year, was to be released from custody late Monday.
The plea bargains came as jury selection was slated to begin in retrials for both men.
The case ended in a mistrial in January after Feliciani ruled prosecutors had failed to disclose key evidence that defense attorneys claimed could have resulted in acquittals.
Assistant District Attorney Adam Barr on Monday conceded evidentiary problems led to the plea deal.
“It was in the best interest to resolve these cases,” Barr said.
Prosecutors also were unsure if one of the witnesses, the man police said drove the vehicle targeted in the shooting, could be brought back to testify.
That witness is in the U.S military and stationed in South Korea. Barr said the county paid about $1,500 to have him returned to Westmoreland County to testify in the aborted trial in January.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .