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Mother of man accused of killing McKeesport police officer accused of violating gag order

Mom of suspect accused of killing police officer accused of violating gag order
Mom of suspect accused of killing police officer accused of violating gag order 01:37

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The mother of a homicide defendant found herself in court on Monday. 

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office accused her of violating a gag order in the case of the shooting death of McKeesport Police Officer Sean Sluganski. The office accused her of setting up a fundraiser for her son's defense.

Candace Tyler is the mother of Johnathan Morris, who is charged in Sluganski's death in February 2023. Her defense argued that there is no definitive proof that she started the fundraiser.

The fundraising page on the site FUNDLY was the source of the hearing. It claims to be from Candace Tyler and shows a video of the day Sluganski was killed. In the video, you hear two voices narrating what they see. It follows the situation as it unfolded and includes the moments when shots are fired. It ends after the shooting of the McKeesport officer.

The narrative on the page presents a defense for Morris as someone who served in Afghanistan and suffered from PTSD. It goes on to alleged that Officer Sluganski was hit by friendly fire. The DA's office argued Tyler created the page and violated a gag order because she is expected to be a witness in its trial and that video will be evidence. The office says this could taint a jury pool with the eventual trial. They were also critical of her past as an officer for their accusation.

Her defense team argued that there was no evidence proving that the narrative and author was not another family member or close friend using Tyler's name on this page.

Ultimately, Judge Bruce Beemer sided with the DA's office, saying the video and narrative must come down within the next 24 hours. He said at this stage, the burden of proof is not high and this met it. If nothing changes, there will be another hearing for failing to comply.

The judge says there will be another hearing later this spring to address the gag order.

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