Murrysville man convicted in stabbing outside lounge
A Murrysville man was convicted Thursday of aggravated assault for stabbing a man in the neck during a fight outside a bar last year.
Jurors found Ryan Paul, 27, guilty of one felony count after about 2 1⁄2 hours of deliberations over two days. The jury of nine men and three woman acquitted Paul of attempted murder.
Paul, who faces trial on unrelated charges for providing drugs to a Delmont man who overdosed and died last year, will remain in jail while he awaits sentencing in about three months by Westmoreland County Judge Rita D. Hathaway.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said Paul could receive a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the stabbing of Matthew Gardone, 33, of Delmont.
Gardone suffered a stab wound during an altercation on April 13, 2014, in the parking lot outside of the Hot Rod Lounge in Murrysville. Gardone testified earlier in the three-day trial that he had never met Paul before the fight. Gardone said that Paul initiated the fight.
Gardone's girlfriend, Ashley Caldwell, testified Paul was her former drug dealer who sold her fake heroin for $80 about three months before the fight.
Paul told jurors that he acted in self-defense after Gardone initiated the fight.
During his closing argument to the jury on Wednesday, defense attorney Steven Townsend said Paul should be found not guilty because he was forced to use a knife to ward off his attacker.
“In this case he was justified to use deadly force to protect himself,” Townsend said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.