More Charges Filed in Duquesne Shooting

Friday, September 29th 2006, 2:44 pm
By: News On 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Prosecutors on Thursday dropped charges against one of two men accused of shooting five Duquesne University basketball players, but filed charges against two additional suspects.

All charges were dropped against Brandon Baynes, 18, of Penn Hills, in the Sept. 17 shooting after an on-campus dance party.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said Baynes was cleared after a witness recanted her story. He would not identify the witness.

Zappala also announced charges against two other people: Derek Lee, of Pittsburgh, and Erica R. Sager, of Wilkinsburg.

Lee, 18, of Pittsburgh, is accused of shooting at the players. He is charged with five counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault.

Sager, also 18, is accused of urging Lee and another teen named William Holmes to ``shoot victims during a verbal dispute that she probably initiated,'' Zappala said. She was charged with five counts of aggravated assault and criminal solicitation.

Lee and Sager were arraigned Thursday. Lee was held without bond. Sager's bail was set at $1 million, but it was not immediately clear whether she was in custody, nor was it known whether either defendant had an attorney.

The shooting occurred as the basketball players left the dance. Several players told The Associated Press the shooter was a non-student unhappy that a woman he accompanied to the dance had talked with a player.

The most seriously injured player, Sam Ashaolu, remained hospitalized Thursday, three days after doctors removed a bullet fragment from his head. The four other players have returned to campus.

Lee and Holmes are the only defendants accused of firing at the players.

Holmes, 18, of Penn Hills, was arrested last week and charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault.

A fourth person, Brittany Jones, 19, also of Penn Hills, has been ordered to stand trial on charges she helped six people get into the dance even though she knew some of them were armed.

Baynes' public defender, Sumner Parker, said last week that Baynes was present at the shooting but was not responsible for it.

Parker thanked police and prosecutors for keeping an open mind.

``I lost a trial fee and I couldn't be happier,'' he said.