Man convicted of 3rd-degree murder in crash that killed 3

By – Associated Press – Saturday, March 9, 2019

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A man was convicted of three counts of third-degree murder in a Thanksgiving Day 2016 police chase that authorities said ended when he collided with a car that burst into flames, killing the driver, his fiancée and her toddler daughter.

Jurors in Allegheny County deliberated for a total of about 14 hours before convicting 24-year-old of Pittsburgh on Friday in the crash in North Versailles about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from where police in East McKeesport had stopped him for making an illegal left turn.

Prosecutors said police pursued through 18 intersections, and he was driving at times more than 100 mph. Video from a nearby restaurant that was played for jurors showed the car speeding into the intersection and plowing into the side of the victims’ car, which erupted into a fireball.

Killed were three members of a Pitcairn family on their way to a holiday dinner: David Lee Bianco, 29; Kaylie Meininger, 21, his fiancée; and their daughter Annika, 2.

testified that he didn’t intend to kill anyone but fled officers out of fear. He said he didn’t remember any part of the chase or the crash.

Defense attorney T. Brent McCune sought an involuntary manslaughter conviction, arguing that his client was guilty of causing the deadly crash but didn’t intend to kill the family.

“It was just a sad, sad situation,” McCune said, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He added that his client was adopted and “has had a tough life. I don’t think he meant any malice, I just think he was very reckless.”

Prosecutors, however, argued that the defendant’s actions that day showed prolonged disregard for human life, including smoking marijuana, selling heroin, fleeing police, speeding and running red lights.

Prosecutors said they intend to seek a life term without possibility of parole when is sentenced June 5.

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