Nov. 29—A Jeannette man told a judge he was trying to protect himself when he shot and killed another man in 2019 outside a high school football stadium.
"It happened so fast," said Greg Harper as he explained the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 6, 2019 killing of 48-year-old Dameian Williams in front of McKee Stadium. "The actions I chose was to preserve my life. I am remorseful a man is gone but also remorseful for what my children lost."
Harper, 43, pleaded guilty in March to a lesser charge of third-degree murder.
Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Tim Krieger sentenced Harper to serve 11 to 25 years in prison. Harper was given credit for the time he has served in jail since his arrest and will be eligible for parole in less than eight years.
Krieger discounted Harper's self-defense claim, noting that he pleaded guilty to the third-degree murder charge. Prosecutors originally charged Harper with first-degree murder, an offense that carries a mandatory life prison term upon conviction.
"I don't think you are a bad man. I think you did a heinous thing and that's what you pleaded guilty to," Krieger said.
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Prosecutors said Williams was shot one time in the abdomen. Witnesses previously testified that gunshots were heard outside the stadium where about 1,500 spectators were watching Jeannette High School's football team defeat Imani Christian Academy.
Police said Harper and Williams were engaged in a confrontation as the game played on inside the stadium.
Harper, who said he attended the game to watch his child in the marching band, met Williams outside the stadium and asked that they speak. Harper claimed Williams struck him from behind in the back of his head and a second time behind his ear, investigators said.
Authorities never disclosed the reason for the deadly encounter.
Defense attorney Pat Thomassey, arguing for a mitigated sentence, said Harper had just one conviction to a minor crime on his record while Williams had a long criminal history.
"He went there that afternoon looking for Greg Harper, Thomassey said of Williams.
Family members described Williams as a good man whose death is still being mourned.
"This loss has torn our family apart in so many ways," testified Chanelle Derry, Williams' daughter.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .