ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (KDKA) - A high-profile murder trial is officially underway in Beaver County. Jury selection has begun in the case against Sheldon Jeter Jr., who was questioned but never charged in the 2018 homicide of Rachael DelTondo. This trial centers around the 2020 homicide of Jeter's close friend Tyric Pugh in Aliquippa.
Sheldon Jeter was led into the courtroom in shackles and wearing a mask, potentially facing a long legal road ahead. He not only faces this criminal homicide trial, but evidence against him has been presented before a grand jury investigating the DelTondo homicide.
Jeter came to national attention as a potential suspect in the DelTondo murder three years ago. A former boyfriend, police investigators then searched his house, confiscated his cellphone and more recently presented evidence involving his whereabouts that night before a grand jury.
On Monday he goes on trial in the shooting death of Tyric Pugh, in what even his defense attorney concedes is an uphill case. Pugh's lifeless body was found in the street and investigators say they have surveillance video of Jeter's car pulling away. They say they later found what they believe to be the murder weapon under Jeter's bed.
Monday morning, KDKA's Andy Sheehan spoke with his attorney Michael Santicola going into court.
"It's going to a difficult case, there's no doubt," said Santicola. "Going to be a lot of witnesses. A lot of emotion. There's a lot of evidence we have to challenge."
No one has been charged in DelTondo's death, and at least initially, investigators looked at several potential suspects. Santicola maintains there is no connection between these two murders and maintains Jeter's innocence in both.
"I do not think there is any relationship between this case and that other case whatsoever, other than the fact that Sheldon Jeter is involved in one and there's multiple people involved in the other," said Santicola.
Only half of the needed 16 jurors and alternates have been empaneled. Jury selection will continue on Tuesday.
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