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Extra Security Measures Ordered As Opening Arguments Get Underway In Sheldon Jeter Trial

BEAVER, Pa. (KDKA) -- The judge presiding over the trial of Sheldon Jeter ordered extra security measures at the Beaver County Courthouse as lawyers present opening arguments.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Jeter is charged with the shooting death of his close friend, Tyric Pugh, in May of 2020.

On Thursday, the prosecution showed the jury a video of Jeter's car coming and going from the area around the time of the murder. The prosecution also promised more: gun residue recovered from the steering wheel and a Glock .380 pistol found under Jeter's mattress, which a ballistic expert will match with casings found at the scene.

Said First Deputy District Attorney Chad Parks: "These are pieces of a puzzle, once put together, will show Sheldon Jeter is guilty."

While the defense acknowledged the evidence is strong, it plans to poke holes.

The defense said the state's case has two major flaws. One is there were no eyewitnesses to the homicide. The other, said defense attorney Michael Santicola, is the prosecution did not provide a reason for the shooting. He said Jeter and Pugh were close friends, and there was no bad blood between them.

"I thought both sides did a good job opening. We certainly think we did and the Commonwealth was very adequate in what happened. But very clearly, they will not present a motive in this case because they don't have one. I think that a big issue," Santicola said.

The prosecution called the first witnesses who found the body. The first was Brandon Waxler, who drove up on the scene:

"I slammed on the brakes. That was the moment I saw the man lying on the street not moving and a massive amount of blood on the concrete."

The other was Joseph Richardson, who arrived minutes later.

"Quite a bit of blood — blood coming from his ear. I thought he was dead. Turned out to be the case," he testified.

Testimony resumes Friday and police officers are expected to testify about going to Jeter's home, questioning the suspect, and finding the gun.

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