PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Jury selection begins today in the trial of six men charged with a brazen double murder inside the Piazza at Schmidts apartments in Northern Liberties in June of 2009. Surveillance video captured much of the crime and played a key role leading to arrests.
Rian Thal, who lived in the complex, and Timothy Gilmore were gunned down in the hallway near the front door of her seventh-floor apartment in what authorities say was a botched robbery. A large amount of cocaine and $100-thousand was later found inside her apartment.
Defendant Keith Epps, 43, is the alleged mastermind; he and three alleged gunmen face murder charges. Two of the alleged gunmen face a potential death penalty if convicted. All these defendants have pleaded not guilty.
Another defendant, a neighbor in the building, who has cooperated with authorities, pleaded guilty earlier, admitting she helped the killers get into the building for what she thought would be a burglary and she’d get a share (see related story). An eighth defendant was charged later and will be tried separately.
Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060