Feb 23

Commonwealth v. A.A.

Commonwealth v. A.A.

In April 2020, A.A. was at his home in the area of 200 W. Westmoreland St. with his wife and children when they heard multiple gunshots going from outside. A.A. went to his window and didn’t see anything, but then checked his surveillance cameras which showed a man in a mask shooting multiple times at A.A.’s vehicle. After approximately five minutes, A.A. walked down the street with two firearms (he had a valid license to carry firearms) to check on his other car. Another minute passed b y and A.A.’s own surveillance video depicted chasing someone down his block and firing 7 times at the man, who was approximately 20 yards in front of him. One of the gunshots struck the male in the back and he was found unresponsive by police about a block away, unarmed. Police arrived at the scene and asked to see the video from A.A.s house, and he complied. He then admitted to police that he was the one on video firing the gun and proceeded to make a full confession at the homicide bureau. In addition to admitting to firing the gun, he indicated that when he walked down the block he was fired at by someone. However, police did not recover any fired cartridge casings from that area, and the male A.A. shot was not seen in possession of a firearm while running down the street on video. Furthermore, he was not wearing there same clothing that the male who had previously shot A.A.’s car was wearing. At trial, the defense highlighted surveillance video of the block after A.A. went to check on his second car, and although nobody is depicting firing a gun and no casings were found, several people are seen running back into their houses as if shots had in fact been fired. A.A. testified that he had honestly believed that at the time he fired the shots, the decedent was the one who had fired at his car and then again at his person minutes later. A.A. was found not guilty of First and Third Degree Murder. He was found guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter only (which the defense had argued for), which is a killing without malice, either with an honest but unreasonable belief that his life was in danger or as the result of extreme passion. At sentencing, the defense presented a comprehensive mitigation report and persuaded the judge to sentence A.A. to 5-10 years incarceration (the “offer” prior to trial was 25-50 years).

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