PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A man accused of killing a young woman and her unborn baby in McKeesport last September pleaded not guilty to homicide and homicide of an unborn child charges.
Isaac Smith, the father of Karli Short's unborn baby, was held for court on the two homicide charges and now the case is moving forward. Short was 26 years old and 17 weeks pregnant when her life was stolen from her.
Former NFL and Penn State football player Brandon Short is her father. He was surrounded by family members in the courtroom for the preliminary hearing on Friday. The family said the outcome on Friday brought them a step closer to justice.
"I'm feeling like it's the first step towards justice. It's painful to listen to someone cross-examine and question character, but it's necessary and I'm as happy as I can be given the circumstances that this is a step towards justice," Short said.
"We're just going to get justice for her, that's all," a cousin said.
A relative and three Allegheny County homicide detectives testified and talked about evidence from that fateful day, Sept. 13, 2021.
Detectives testified that they discovered Karli Short received a call from a Tracfone at 12:20 a.m., which detectives eventually traced to Smith. They said during an interview with detectives, Smith indicated he had a Tracfone but said he lost the phone and never made any calls on it.
Home surveillance cameras at the back door of her cousin's home in McKeesport showed Karli Short walking out the back door and into the yard at 12:22 a.m. Detectives said a ShotSpotter alert went off close by at 12:23 a.m., and Karli was found in the morning near an alley in the back of the residence.
Detectives said during their interview with Smith, he told them he had three firearms, including a Smith and Wesson revolver which he said he pawned on Sept. 29. The prosecutor said that ballistic testing showed the revolver that was pawned matched the bullet that hit Karli Short.
"One of the most difficult experiences of my life and I pray hard about how to manage it and handle it. I have friends and family who support me through this, extremely difficult to look at the person who hurt us all so bad. He has his day in court and justice will prevail," Short said.
This was a tough day for the family, and they plan to spend the rest of the day together, honoring the memory of Karli Short and her baby.
"A lot of family, a lot of people that care about Karli and that's why I don't want to be lost here. She was such an amazing human being and all she wanted to do was make others happy. She was in the prime of her life and she was so happy about being a mother, and the father of her child took her life because he didn't want to have a baby and it's the most cowardly thing," Short said.
During his final argument, Smith's attorney said there is no motive and Smith went voluntarily to provide information to detectives the day after Karli Short's death. His attorney said Smith told detectives about the firearms he had and where he sold the revolver.
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