Death penalty to be sought in Pennsylvania convenience store slaying

Regional News

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — A western Pennsylvania prosecutor says he will seek the death penalty in the slaying of a worker gunned down as he was making a sandwich for a customer in a convenience store earlier this year.

Sidney McLean, 32, of McKeesport, and Devell Christian, 32, of White Oak, were formally arraigned Friday in Washington County on homicide and other charges in the Feb. 24 killing of Nicholas Tarpley in Anna Lee’s Convenience Store.

District Attorney Jason Walsh notified the court that he planned to seek capital punishment if the defendants are convicted of first-degree murder, according to The (Washington) Observer-Reporter.

Authorities said two masked men walked into the store and fired multiple shots at the victim as he had his back turned to the counter while making a sandwich for a customer. Tarpley, 28, of Donora, a co-owner of the store, had six gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. The customer and a teenager girl were uninjured.

The defendants are charged with homicide, conspiracy and firearms counts. Walsh cited the commission of a slaying during another felony and the grave danger posed to people other than the victim as aggravating factors justifying the death penalty.

Authorities haven’t cited a motive, although Walsh previously indicated that someone else might have been targeted.

In a preliminary hearing earlier this year, defense attorneys unsuccessfully sought dismissal of the charges.

Christian’s attorney, Ken Haber, said there was “no evidence my client did this or did anything at all.” McLean’s public defender, Josh Carroll, said no testimony provided during the hearing connected his client to the killing.

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