Judge rejects defense bid to dismiss first-degree murder charge against Ruffs Dale woman – About Your Online Magazine


A judge rejected a defense request to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against an East Huntingdon woman accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend last year.

In a six-page opinion made public on Wednesday, Westmoreland County Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio ruled against the defense’s argument that Meghan West had no intention of killing Andrew Pristas during the deadly clash on September 20. at his home in Ruffs Dale.

Defense attorney Adam Gorzelsky argued that there was no evidence to support the first-degree murder charge.

Prosecutors said West, 30, fired a warning shot at the left side of the door while Pristas tried to enter West’s room. According to police, West then fired a second shot at the right side of the bedroom door, above the door handle, a shot that proved to be fatal.

Pristas, 33, from Greensburg, was hit by a bullet in the upper back and died of his injuries.

The defense claimed that West had no intention of killing Pristas, with whom she had lived two years before, and feared for her life when the ex-couple argued about something she saw on her cell phone.

Public prosecutor John Peck argued that since West fired his weapon at a vital part of Prista’s body, his intention was to kill the victim.

The judge supported the prosecution’s case theory.

“Based on these facts, this court must remove the inference in favor of the community that the defendant realized that the victim was on the other side of the door where the door handle was located,” wrote the judge.

West has been in jail without bail since his arrest last year. The trial date has not been scheduled.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .



Paula Fonseca