PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A woman accused of shooting and killing her niece last year on her wedding day in Beaver County took the stand Thursday afternoon.
Police say newlywed Christina George-Harvan, 30, and her niece, 21-year-old Katelyn Francis, were celebrating after the wedding when the two started arguing about who was going to drive home.
George-Harvan tearfully testified about the hours leading to the shooting and her interaction with the victim.
"I was happy...she was so cute. We were only nine years apart. The first thing she did was say, 'Aunt Tina, I'm so happy for you,' and gave me a big hug."
But as the drinking continued, and she said her husband Jeremy Harvan became belligerent about driving home, the victim asked for his keys. And once inside the car, the defendant noticed his gun.
Of an argument in the car between the victim and her husband over the car keys, George-Harvan testified, "When I turned around, the glove box is open and I see this gun. I think I gotta move this gun. I go get it out of the glove box to move it and boom the gun goes off."
Defense Attorney: "Did you deliberately squeeze the trigger?"
"Everything freezes," George-Harvan testified. "Jeremy says, 'You just shot your [expletive] cousin. He steps over her dying body and he runs. I put pressure on [Katelyn's[ wound and I screamed and dialed 911."
On the stand, she added, "I felt devastated. It was like a nightmare. Your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life and my niece is dead."
George-Harvan is a nurse, but resigned her position at a hospital after these charges were filed.
The prosecution rested Thursday morning and the defense opened its case by calling a ballistics expert to the stand.
Former Pennsylvania State Trooper Frederick Wentling testified for the defense that a person's inexperience could cause a gun to discharge if it wasn't handled properly.
"If you put your thumb in… if you pick it up sideways, and put your thumb in there and pull it back, it will discharge," said Wentling. "It's supposed to. It doesn't know what's pulling it to the rear."
According to police, the incident happened on April 24, 2014, around 10 p.m. at Jimmy K's Bar on 11th Avenue in New Brighton.
Investigators say George-Harvan grabbed a gun and it went off. Francis was struck by the shot while standing outside the driver's door and died on the way to the hospital. The defendant was in the passenger seat.
Defense attorneys say the shooting was an accident.
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