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Tuesday, October 23, 2007
One of two men accused in Duquesne shooting pleads guilty

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- One of two men accused of shooting at five Duquesne University basketball players after a school dance pleaded guilty to attempted homicide and other counts Tuesday.

Derek Scott Lee, 19, of Pittsburgh, was sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to five counts of attempted homicide and aggravated assault, plus one count of conspiracy and a weapons count.

Lee fired two shots, but neither hit the players, said Lisa Pellegrini, an assistant district attorney for Allegheny County.

Lee has not agreed to cooperate with authorities, but pleaded guilty because he had faced more than 100 years in jail if convicted at trial, said Lee's attorney, Wendy Williams.

Lee declined to address Judge Lawrence J. O'Toole's court before being sentenced. He was "not emotionally able to," Williams said.

"He takes responsibility for his actions and he's not trying to take anyone else down," she said.

Stuard Baldonado, Aaron Jackson, Shawn James, Kojo Mensah and Sam Ashaolu were shot early Sept. 17, 2006, as they returned from a dance. Ashaolu was shot twice in the head.

Lee fired at the players after an argument over a woman who attended the dance with the co-defendants and flirted with some players, Pellegrini said.

None of the five attended Tuesday's hearing.

Baldonado and Ashaolu missed the season because of the shootings.

James was shot in the foot, Mensah in the arm and Jackson in the wrist. All three have recovered and are expected to start this season.

Ashaolu, who still has bullet fragments in his head, is back in school and expects to play next season.

Baldonado, shot in the left arm and back, is suspended and unlikely to return to Duquesne following several arrests this year.

Duquesne athletic director Greg Amodio declined to comment and said the school would "let the legal proceedings come to conclusion before we formally comment."

Jury selection was scheduled to begin later this week for the other alleged shooter, William Holmes, 19, of Pittsburgh, and two women accused of crimes for their roles in the shooting.