Homicide, conspiracy charges withdrawn in Pa. slaying of 2

Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Prosecutors in western Pennsylvania have withdrawn homicide and conspiracy charges against three men in the 2017 slayings of a father and his young son.

The Allegheny County district attorney’s office said Friday the death of a key witness “creates evidentiary issues that we cannot overcome with the remaining evidence in the case.” The charges could be refiled later.

Twenty-five-year-old Donavan Wilson, 27-year-old Brandon Barnett and 31-year-old Jacqua Barnett were charged after the December 2017 shooting in Swissvale, just outside Pittsburgh, that killed 29-year-old Walter Stewart Jr. and 7-year-old Jo Lawrence Stewart.

Brandon Barnett’s attorney, Ralph Karsh, and Wilson’s attorney, Randall McKinney, said their clients were pleased with the development.

Prosecutors said Stewart was ambushed after going to the home to buy marijuana. Defense attorneys said whoever fired acted in self-defense.

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