By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
One of the men accused of taking part in a string of armed robberies that left one his alleged co-conspirators shot and killed at the bottom of a Greenville ravine almost two years ago was found not guilty by a jury after a four-day trial last week.
Shawn E. Lee, 27, of Masury, was acquitted March 15 of these charges:
ä Criminal conspiracy to commit robbery, terroristic threats and robbery in connection with a July 23, 2011, robbery at Circle K in West Middlesex.
ä Conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery in connection with a July 23, 2011, robbery of McQuaid’s Sunoco in Farrell.
ä Conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery and theft by unlawful taking in connection with a July 24, 2011 robbery at Veado’s Minimarket in Hempfield Township.
Lee had also been charged by Brookfield police with the June 22 robbery of a convenience store, but those charges were withdrawn by police.
“I think it was a fair verdict,” Stanley Booker, who represented Lee, said. “I think my client was an innocent man. We thought justice was served by the verdict.”
Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said it’s obvious from the verdict that the jury didn’t believe Greenville teenager Arthur Novel’s testimony during the trial.
Novel is awaiting trial for his part in the crimes.
The third man authorities suspect in the string of robberies, Jeffrey A. Anderson, 30, of Greenville, was shot and killed by police July 26, 2011, as the Mercer County Critical Incident Response Team was trying to arrest him on charges he took part in the crimes.
Police shot Anderson in the head when he backed his vehicle toward them outside Anderson’s College Avenue apartment.
After the shot, Anderson’s car pitched forward and ended up at the bottom of a raving on the south bank of the Little Shenango River.
Kochems later validated CIRT’s response to that incident.
“We’re sympathetic to the victims,” Booker said, without referencing Anderson.
Booker refrained from making further comment.
Lee was released after spending more than a year in Mercer County Jail. He was initially arrested Aug. 1, 2011, and has been in jail since.