Opening Arguments Get Underway In Sheldon Jeter Trial

The judge presiding over the trial of Sheldon Jeter ordered extra security measures at the Beaver County Courthouse as lawyers present opening arguments.

Video Transcript

KEN RICE: And a man who's been under investigation in the murder of Rachael DelTondo in Aliquippa is now on trial in another homicide there. The prosecution making its case against Sheldon Jeter. KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan reports testimony has just wrapped up for the day. Andy.

ANDY SHEEHAN: Well, Ken, the prosecution has begun building its case against Sheldon Jeter, saying they have irrefutable evidence he killed Tyric Pugh. Did Sheldon Jeter murder his one time friend Tyric Pugh, shooting him five times in the head execution-style on an Aliquippa street two years ago? The prosecution has begun presenting a chain of evidence he did.

This afternoon, they showed the jury a video of Jeter's car coming and going from that vicinity around the time of the murder, and it promised more, gun residue recovered from the steering wheel and a Glock. 380 caliber pistol found under Jeter's mattress, which a ballistics expert will match with casings found at the scene. Said first deputy district attorney Chad Parks, "These are pieces of a puzzle, once put together, will show Sheldon Jeter is guilty."

While the defense has acknowledged the evidence is strong, it plans to poke holes, and it says the state's case has two major flaws. One is no eyewitness to the homicide. The other is the prosecution did not provide a reason for the shooting, saying Jeter and Pugh were close friends, and there was no bad blood between them.

MICHAEL SANTICOLA: And I thought both sides did a good job opening up. I thought we certainly did. And I thought that the Commonwealth was very adequate in what happened but is very clear that they will not present a motive in this case because they do not have one. And I think that's a big issue.

ANDY SHEEHAN: This afternoon, the prosecution called the first witnesses to find the body. The first, Brandon Waxler, who drove on the scene, quote, "I slammed on the brakes. That was the moment I saw the man lying on the street not moving and a massive amount of blood on the concrete." The other, Joseph Richardson, who arrived minutes later, quote, "Quite a bit of blood, blood coming from his ear. I thought he was dead. Turned out to be the case."

Now, testimony will resume tomorrow morning, with police officers expected to testify about going to Jeter's home, questioning the suspect, and finding that gun. Reporting live at the Beaver County Courthouse, Andy Sheehan, KDKA News.