A man once questioned in the death of a Pennsylvania teacher has now been charged with a separate murder.
Sheldon Jeter, 22, is facing criminal homicide charges in the death of 30-year-old Tyric Pugh, who was found lying in the street riddled with bullets around 11:30 p.m. on Friday in Aliquippa, according to People.
Pugh had been shot seven times.
Jeter previously was scrutinized in the murder of Rachael DelTondo, 33, a teacher who was found shot to death in the driveway of her mother’s home on Mother’s Day in 2018, according to local station KDKA-TV. Jeter, a former high school basketball and football star, was once a student of DelTondo in elementary school and the pair apparently became involved in a relationship that at one time drew the attention of police.
On the night of Pugh’s death, Jeter and Pugh had been together at a local ice cream store. Both men were captured at the store by surveillance footage along with two others, according to a state police complaint obtained by People.
Jeter’s vehicle was also spotted near the scene in surveillance footage, shortly after Pugh had been shot to death, according to the complaint.
“Jeter was interviewed and provided contradicting information about what time he left his residence and the last time he was with Pugh,” the complaint said.
However, Jeter’s attorney Michael Santicola has denied Jeter had any involvement in the shooting.
“He denies that he had anything to do with this,” Santicola told Oxygen.com. “This individual he was friends with, it’s his cousin. They grew up together, they lived in the same house.”
Santicola said Jeter and Pugh had been together at the ice cream store that night, along with Jeter’s grandfather and uncle, but said they were having a “friendly and fun” evening.
“There was no problem, there is no problem, between the two of them,” he said.
Santicola also denied the police assertion that Jeter had been inconsistent in his statements to police.
“All they do is conclude that his statements are inconsistent, [but] they don’t tell us what inconsistencies they think they are,” Santicola said, calling it a “big problem” with the affidavit.
He said Jeter cooperated fully with the police, even handing over his phone, clothes he had been wearing and agreed to submit to a gunshot residue test.
Santicola said on the night of the shooting, Jeter and Pugh had been together, first going to get ice cream and later taking medication to another family member’s house before Pugh said he needed to go to work.
Pugh typically worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift and got out of the car and set off in the direction of his job, according to the attorney.
Santicola said Jeter had offered to give him a ride, but Pugh insisted he would just walk.
“He was walking to work, which is what he does almost every day,” Santicola said.
After Pugh got out of the car, Santicola said Jeter went back home where he played Fortnite with another cousin for about a half hour before heading to bed.
Although Santicola acknowledged police later recovered the same type of gun used to kill Pugh in Jeter’s room, he is confident it is not the murder weapon.
He said Pugh bought the gun “months and months ago” with the help of another cousin, who was a police officer, and had never fired the weapon.
“That is not going to be the firearm that is the murder weapon. We’re convinced of that. We know that,” he said.
Santicola has also consistently denied that Jeter had anything to do with DelTondo’s death.
He told Oxygen.com that although the two had been in a relationship, it was a “friendly relationship” and Jeter would have had no motive to kill the teacher and was not angry with her at the time she died.
“It’s a sorted case that has a lot of moving parts to it,” he said.
DelTondo reportedly first met Jeter while working as a substitute teacher at his elementary school and later reconnected with then 17-year-old football star, according to CBS News.
Aliquippa Police allegedly found the pair together at nearly 2 a.m. in an abandoned parking lot. DelTondo allegedly told the officer at the time that Jeter had once been a student but was now a “friend” and the two were just talking together in the vehicle, according to the report.
The police report was later sent anonymously to DelTondo’s school, local school board, the media and others—leading DelTondo to get suspended from her job.
Santicola told “48 Hours” that Jeter and DelTondo had been more than friends and had been carrying on a relationship that began even before they were found together in the car.
“She was engaged at the time she was having a relationship with—with Sheldon,” he told CBS News. “So ... they’d see each other when they could.”
DelTondo’s mother Lisa DelTondo told “48 Hours” that Jeter had been “obsessed” and “in love” with her daughter before she was killed.
In the spring of 2018, DelTondo had also begun spending time with Jeter’s half-brother, 31-year-old Rashawn Bolton.
On the night she was killed, Bolton was out of town, but DelTondo had gone out with another teen, 17-year-old Lauren Watkins.
Watkins told “48 Hours” as they were driving around they passed Jeter, who later messaged her asking what the pair was doing.
Watkins didn’t respond but the two later picked up Tyrie Jeter, another half-brother of Sheldon’s and went to get ice cream.
Jeter had allegedly been texting his half-brother about their whereabouts that night, according to search warrant applications obtained by “48 Hours.”
Watkins told the magazine show that she dropped DelTondo at her home and saw her go into a side door of the house, but DelTondo would be shot minutes later and was discovered on the driveway of the home.
Santicola told Oxygen.com Jeter wasn’t involved in the shooting and said in the months before she died, DelTondo had been talking to a reporter about death threats and being harassed and stalked.
He believes whoever was behind those incidents may have had a motive to harm the 33-year-old.
Lisa DelTondo also told “48 Hours” that her daughter had been cooperating in an ongoing investigation by state police into possible corruption in the Aliquippa Police Department when she died.
DelTondo’s former fiancé Frank Catroppa has also denied any involvement in her slaying.
Jeter is currently being held at the Beaver County jail.
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