HomeTop StoriesSheldon Jeter named as "prime suspect" in shooting death of Rachael DelTondo

Sheldon Jeter named as “prime suspect” in shooting death of Rachael DelTondo

PITTSBURGH — Rachael DelTondo’s murder has sparked national interest, but five years after she was shot in her mother’s driveway, no one has been brought to justice. Now the Beaver County District Attorney is finally naming a prime suspect, though some are questioning why it’s taken so long.

It’s been five years since the murder of Rachael DelTondo and there have been no arrests. Now the prosecutor confirms what most people already believe: that Sheldon Jeter is the “prime suspect.”

In the immediate aftermath of the May 2018 murder, his name came to be – Sheldon Jeter, Rachael DelTondo’s young rejected boyfriend was questioned by police and after other potential suspects were ruled out, he became the primary focus of the investigation.

Now, five years later, District Attorney David Lozier confirms this, telling KDKA-TV: “Sheldon Jeter is the prime suspect, although we don’t have enough evidence to make an arrest. We are seeking help from the public and will open new take avenues such as offering a reward for new information.”

While they have no eyewitnesses and have never recovered a murder weapon, Lozier said investigators have put together a strong circumstantial case — including GPS and surveillance camera evidence — which he believes shows that Jeter pursued DelTondo leading up to the murder.

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But Lozier says he will open the warrants and reveal that evidence, but he can’t bring Jeter directly to the scene and is asking anyone who can to come forward.

“I can’t put him in the driveway beyond a reasonable doubt. Someone out there knows something. Someone knows something to confirm what happened,” he said.

Andy Sheehan: “Don’t we know that your client is the prime suspect?”

Defense attorney Michael Santicola: “That certainly seems like a lot to do nothing. Seems like a strange announcement right now five years later. Are we actually announcing that we don’t have any evidence to charge anyone?”

The evidence against Jeter was presented before a state grand jury, which did not press charges. Meanwhile, Jeter was put on trial and convicted of the murder of his friend Tyric Pugh. But Jeter’s attorney, Michael Santicola, says Lozier’s statement only demonstrates his failure to build a credible case against the client.

“To me, it begs desperation on behalf of the district attorney’s office,” Santicola said.

Why now? Why is the public prosecutor finally making these statements after all these years? Lozier is up for re-election in November.

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His opponent in the upcoming election says his statements are downright political.

KDKA-TV has reported for years that Sheldon Jeter is the prime suspect in DelTondo’s murder, but it has taken until now for District Attorney David Lozier to confirm this. His opponent in the upcoming race thinks he knows why.

“I don’t think the timing of this is a coincidence, the fact that the election is less than three months away,” said District Attorney-designate Nathan Bible.

After trying and convicting Jeter in another case – the murder of Tyric Pugh – Lozier still hasn’t charged anyone for DelTondo’s murder. Nathan Bible, the Democratic nominee for district attorney, says the lack of prosecution is a problem and Lozier’s statements are an attempt to deflect that criticism.

“This is certainly a black mark on his record as a prosecutor. I think there are a lot of unanswered questions about it, and I think this is his way of putting something on the agenda and hoping it sticks” said Bible.

After eliminating other suspects, investigators have spent countless hours focusing their efforts on Jeter and Lozier is about to open warrants proving their case – GPS and surveillance evidence he says shows Jeter stalking DelTondo on the night of the murder. But he tells KDKA-TV that he has no evidence to directly bring Jeter to the scene and that he will post a reward for anyone who can provide that evidence.

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And Lozier defended his nomination of Jeter as the prime suspect, saying he is assuring the DelTondo family that the case will be prosecuted.

“I wouldn’t have made it if it wasn’t inappropriate, I think the family needs to know where we stand,” he said.

But, the Bible says, if Jeter is charged, Lozier’s statements could jeopardize his right to a fair trial.

“After a statement like that, I don’t see how this case can go to trial in Beaver County,” Bible said.

But while he says he’s trying to bring comfort to the DelTondo family, Lozier has apparently made the murder of Rachael DelTondo and the lack of an arrest a major issue in his run for re-election.

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