PITTSBURGH – Four men have been ordered to stand trial in Pennsylvania in the death of a Somali immigrant cab driver in Pittsburgh.
The plaintiffs claim that the group wanted to rob a pizza deliveryman in the night of February. 21 but due to the late hour chosen for a taxi driver.
Authorities say the men beat, kicked and struck the 31-year-old Ramadan Mohamed, who died three days later in a hospital.
In a preliminary hearing Friday, District Judge Armand Martin ordered all four defendants held without bond on charges of murder, theft, and conspiracy. Lawyers said the four men are expected to be formally indicted in June.
During the hearing, one of the men waived his right to a preliminary hearing and provided testimony about the heart rate, admitting to his role in, but also the naming of a co-defendant as the instigator.
At the time of his death, Muhammad was married with a 2-year-old son and his wife was pregnant. He was a highly respected member of the Somali Bantu community and became known with his religious attire. His killing prompted the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and others to investigate his beating as a hate crime.
But police and prosecutors said then that they had no evidence against the defendants were motivated by Muhammad on the ground of his nationality, race or religion, although the investigation is continuing.
The four charged are Christian Glenn, 19, of Greensburg; Daniel Russell, 20, Youngstown, Ohio; and the King Edwards and Hosea Moore, both 20 and of Pittsburgh.
Moore testified Friday that he worked a shift at a fast-food restaurant that evening, and he and the others decided later to lure someone near to rob them. He said that they are considered as directed on a pizza delivery boy, but abandoned that plan because it was already late and the pizza shops were closed. He said Russell was the one who suggested the robbery.
Moore said that he was not fully on board with robbing someone, but “I did it anyway,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
When the taxi arrived, Moore said, he was the first to reach the vehicle and he beat Mohamed. Moore testified that the others pulled Mohamed from the cab, threw him to the ground and started to kick and beat him. They then searched him for money or other valuables, but found nothing, leaving with only the driver of the mobile phone and the vehicle’s key, he said.
Moore’s lawyer, Kevin Abramovitz, said Muhammad, “lost his life in a terrible, terrible situation.” He said that he and his client have no deal with the prosecutors, but they are certainly a harbinger of a benefit” of Moore’s testimony.
Russell’s lawyer, Robert Carey Jr, said he looks forward to “a challenge to the credibility of this witness.”