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Man Acquitted In Cookout Slaying Pleads In Firearms Case

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

A man acquitted in the slayings of five people and an unborn baby at a western Pennsylvania cookout more than 4 1/2 years ago has pleaded guilty to a firearms charge in an unrelated case.

Cheron Shelton, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. He was accused of having possessed a rifle and ammunition although a felony drug conviction barred him from owning a firearm.

The firearm charge came less than two weeks after Shelton was acquitted of first- and third-degree murder in the March 2016 shootings in Wilkinsburg. Charges in that case had been dismissed earlier against 31-year-old Robert Thomas. Authorities had alleged that he opened fire and Shelton then gunned down victims running onto a porch. Authorities alleged they were targeting someone Shelton believed was involved in the 2013 murder of a friend.

Federal authorities said the firearms charge stemmed from a search of the home of Shelton's mother as part of the investigation into the mass shooting. They said the rifle found had been reported stolen in June 2015 and one of Shelton's fingerprints was recovered from the weapon, which wasn't used in the Wilkinsburg shooting.

Shelton is to be sentenced April 22 on the firearms conviction.

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