MERCER – A suspect in a November 2019 double shooting is requesting to be released from jail for surgery.
Antoine Leonard, 28, of 290 North St., is in Mercer County Jail on charges of conspiracy to commit murder of the first degree and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault for a shooting that happened at 1:54 p.m. Nov. 27, 2019, at the Pine Hollow Village public housing apartments in the 300 block of East Connelly Boulevard in Sharon. The two victims have since recovered.
In a hearing Thursday, Leonard’s attorney, David Wenger, asked Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald D. Amrhein Jr. to review Leonard’s bond so he could have surgery that will force him to lie on his stomach for three months.
Wenger said Leonard needs surgery for an infection, and that the county would not have to pay for the procedure if Amrhein approves the release.
“If he’s at home on electronic monitoring, (the surgery) goes on his bill,” Wenger said. “His infection is acute and his condition is chronic.”
If Leonard gets the operation while still in jail, Wenger said it could cost the county thousands of dollars.
Wenger said he spoke to the jail’s health administrator about Leonard’s condition. The defense attorney did not have a medical report.
Amrhein delayed the hearing for another two weeks so Wenger could provide the medical information. The judge said Thursday that he has reservations about the request.
“I don’t feel comfortable letting him go based on what it’s going to cost the county,” Amrhein said. “What if he shoots somebody?”
Leonard was charged in July at the same time that his brother, Anthony Leonard, 28, Pittsburgh, was charged with solicitation to commit murder of the first degree and solicitation to commit aggravated assault in the same incident. Anthony Leonard remains at large.
A third man, James Knox, 21, Braddock, pleaded guilty to an aggravated assault charge in the case and was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in state prison followed by 2 years probation.
Sharon police said the shooting is related to an incident Nov. 26, 2019, a day before the Pine Hollow Village shooting, in the 200 block of Mesabi Street in Sharon. Knox knows the family of the Mesabi Street shooting victim, Anthony Leonard, and had visited Leonard at a Pittsburgh hospital, authorities said. Leonard was released from the hospital the following day.
In the Nov. 27 incident, Sharon police responded at 1:54 p.m. to a report that two people had been shot at Pine Hollow Village, according to a criminal complaint.
Police said they arrived to find two Boardman, Ohio, men with multiple gunshot wounds. The two men were lying next to each other in the apartment complex’s parking lot near a brown SUV with its front doors open.
One of the men told police they were robbed, and he described the assailant’s vehicle. The men were taken by ambulance to area hospitals.
In the parking lot area, police said they found spent shell casings and a bullet slug near the SUV, which had five bullet holes. Witnesses and the victims said two people entered and left the parking lot in a gray Dodge Charger with Ohio license plates.
Pittsburgh police notified Sharon police that they had found Knox driving the Charger and took him into custody.
During an interview with Sharon detectives, Knox admitted that Anthony asked him to visit him in the hospital after the first shooting. He then stayed overnight at Antoine’s residence and went the next day with the Leonard brothers to the Pine Hollow Village apartments, where the shooting happened.
Amrhein continued the hearing for two weeks to give Wenger a chance to acquire a report to back up the claims about Antoine Leonard’s medical condition.
Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: email@example.com