Murder trial to begin for Jeannette’s Crystal Belle, accused of killing teen boyfriend
Testimony will begin Thursday in the first-degree murder trial for a Jeannette woman charged with the fatal beating of her teenage boyfriend nearly three years ago.
A jury was selected Wednesday to hear evidence in the case against Crystal Belle, who police claim bludgeoned to death 19-year-old Khalil Parker, of Allegheny County. Parker’s body was found tied to a bed in Belle’s South Seventh Street home on June 11, 2016.
Belle, 39, pleaded guilty last year to a reduced charge of third-degree murder but just before she was to be sentenced rescinded her plea as her attorney Brian Aston asserted there was a viable defense suggesting that Parker died from injuries he sustained a week earlier when he was attacked at a picnic in Wilkinsburg in which five other people were killed.
Aston claimed there was not enough physical evidence to support the prosecution’s theory that Parker was killed in Belle’s home.
Prosecutors contend Belle used shoe laces to tie up Parker and beat him repeatedly with a snow shovel after they engaged in rough consensual sex.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Belle will receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .