PITTSBURGH – Four men have been ordered to stand trial in Pennsylvania in the death of a Somali immigrant cab driver in Pittsburgh.
Prosecutors allege the group wanted to rob a pizza delivery driver on the night of Feb. 21 but due to the late hour opted for a cab driver.
Authorities say the men punched, kicked and beat 31-year-old Ramadhan Mohamed, who died three days later at a hospital.
At a preliminary hearing Friday, District Judge Armand Martin ordered all four suspects held without bond on charges of homicide, robbery and conspiracy. Attorneys said the four men are expected to be formally arraigned in June.
During the hearing, one of the men waived his right to a preliminary hearing and provided testimony about the beating, admitting to his role in it but also naming a co-defendant as the instigator.
At the time of his death, Mohamed was married with a 2-year-old son and his wife was pregnant. He was a well-respected member of the Somali Bantu community and was known for wearing his religious garb. His killing prompted the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and others to investigate his beating as a hate crime.
But police and prosecutors said then that they had no evidence the suspects were motivated by Mohamed's nationality, race or religion, although the investigation was continuing.
The four charged are Christen Glenn, 19, of Greensburg; Daniel Russell, 20, of Youngstown, Ohio; and King Edwards and Hosea Moore, both 20 and from Pittsburgh.
Moore testified Friday that he worked a shift at a fast-food restaurant that evening and he and the others decided later to lure someone to the neighborhood to rob them. He said they considered targeting a pizza delivery driver, but abandoned that plan because it was late and pizza shops were closing. He said Russell was the one who suggested the robbery.
Moore said he wasn't completely on board with robbing someone but "I did it anyway," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
When the cab arrived, Moore said, he was the first to reach the vehicle and he punched Mohamed. Moore testified that the others pulled Mohamed from the cab, threw him to the ground and began kicking and beating him. They then searched him for money or other valuables but found nothing, leaving with only the driver's cellphone and the vehicle's key, he said.
Moore's attorney, Kevin Abramovitz, said Mohamed "lost his life in a horrible, horrible set of circumstances." He said he and his client have no deal with prosecutors but they are "certainly anticipating a benefit" from Moore's testimony.
Russell's attorney, Robert Carey Jr., said he looks forward to "challenging the credibility of this witness."