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Shooting suspects in Duquesne case to stand trial

10/4/2006 - Duquesne Dukes

PITTSBURGH -- Two men accused of shooting five Duquesne University basketball players outside a school dance were ordered Wednesday to stand trial.

William Holmes, 18, of Penn Hills, and Derek Lee, 18, of Pittsburgh, face five counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and one count of carrying a firearm without a license in the Sept. 17 shootings. Neither is a Duquesne student.

A woman who allegedly encouraged the men, Erica R. Sager, 18, of Wilkinsburg, was also ordered Wednesday to stand trial.

One of the wounded players, Shawn James, testified that teammate Stephen Wood had his arm around Sager outside the building where the dance was held. Someone in a group nearby called for her to get back with them, James said.

Members of the other group began lifting their shirts, gesturing as if they had guns, so the basketball players began walking away, he said.

Then, without provocation, Sager yelled, "Get them, get them ..." and used a racial epithet, James said.

The most seriously injured of the five players, Sam Ashaolu, was moved Monday from critical care into a rehabilitation center. The others are back on campus; Wood was not among the wounded.

Lee's attorney, Michael D. Foglia, suggested his client thought someone was shooting at him and acted in self-defense.

Lee M. Rothman, Sager's attorney, said Sager had no idea anyone had guns and has been horrified since her arrest last week.

Sager was released from jail Wednesday on a $10,000 bond after her bail was reduced from $1 million. Holmes and Lee continue to be held without bond.

Brittany Jones, 19, of Penn Hills, has also been ordered to stand trial for allegedly helping six men get into the dance even though she knew some were armed.