Charged with murder, he blamed his identical twin. The jury didn’t buy it
GREENSBURG, Pa. – A defense attorney says he expects to appeal the murder conviction of a western Pennsylvania man who asserted that his now-deceased twin brother was the shooter.
Jurors in Westmoreland County deliberated for about two hours Friday before convicting 30-year-old Darrelle Tolbert-McGhee of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 32-year-old Michael Wilson.
McGhee had asserted that he was in Florida at the time of the April 2017 slaying in downtown Jeannette. He said the shooter was his twin brother, Dwayne, who was killed in a shooting 13 months later in Wilkinsburg.
The Tribune-Review reports that defense attorney Tim Dawson said he was surprised by the speed of the verdict.
“Apparently, they convinced the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that one identical twin committed the murder rather than the other,” Dawson said. “For them to come back in two hours, it was surprising in a first-degree murder case where most of it was on video and at least two witnesses could not identify my client as the shooter.”
Prosecutors argued that evidence from eyewitnesses identified the defendant as the shooter and his identity was not in question. Wilson’s former girlfriend testified that she knew both brothers and could tell them apart, and while not a witness she could tell that surveillance videos showed Darrelle Tolbert-McGhee firing the fatal shots.
Dawson, however, said those who knew the brothers best had dificulty telling them apart, and two witnesses said his client was in Florida. “You can’t convict a man of murder when he wasn’t there,” he said. Prosecutors said the defense was unable to provide any physical evidence that the defendant was out of the state.
Tolbert-McGhee, who faces a mandatory term of life in prison without the possibility of parole, didn’t comment as he was taken back to jail after his conviction.