Pa. man who denies killing pleads to earn freedom

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Pittsburgh man who still denies shooting another man outside a bar in 1997 has nonetheless pleaded no contest — so he could be released from prison.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1dmIXMn ) reports Taibu Grant was serving a life sentence because he was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Keith Gilliam on Jan. 9, 1997.

Grant won a new trial after a federal appeals court in March ruled his public defender made “unprofessional errors” at trial.

New defense attorney Roger Cox says Grant was “scared to death he’d spend the rest of his life in prison” if he was convicted again, so he agreed to the no-contest plea to a lesser charge of third-degree murder on Wednesday.

An Allegheny County judge then sentenced Grant to the 16 years he’s spent incarcerated, and ordered him paroled immediately.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, http://www.post-gazette.com

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