Tragic Shooting at Pittsburgh U-Haul Leaves One Dead: Homicide Trial Begins as Defense Admits Guilt

PITTSBURGH, PA – Corey Dick, an employee at a U-Haul in Pittsburgh’s East End, found himself caught in a devastating tragedy on July 27, 2021. As he prepared to have an early dinner, a man who had been inquiring about renting a pickup truck returned and reported that the truck he wanted to see was locked. Dick’s best friend and coworker, Jacob Jaillet, went outside to offer assistance. Seconds later, Dick heard two gunshots and a customer frantically urged him to call 911. Rushing outside, Dick discovered Jaillet shot in the neck and bleeding. In a desperate plea for help, he contacted emergency services, informing them of the shooting and theft of their truck. Five days later, Jaillet, a 21-year-old student at Edinboro University, succumbed to his injuries.

Shortly after the incident, Braijon Burton, 24, from Garfield, was apprehended when he crashed the stolen U-Haul pickup into a police car on the 31st Street Bridge ramp following a pursuit. Burton is now on trial in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, facing charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, reckless endangerment, and other related offenses.

During the jury trial’s opening statements, Burton’s defense attorney, Steven Tehovnik, made a startling admission to the courtroom: his client killed Jaillet. However, Tehovnik implored the jury to consider finding Burton guilty of a lower-level murder charge, specifically third-degree murder. First-degree murder, which requires premeditation, and second-degree murder, defined as killing someone while committing another felony, both carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. By arguing for third-degree murder, Tehovnik suggested that Burton’s actions lacked premeditation and intent, urging the jury to consider a maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years instead.

In his attempt to build a defense, Tehovnik portrayed Burton as disorganized, with illogical thinking on the day of the incident. He emphasized the lack of a plan or intent, suggesting that Burton’s actions were the result of spur-of-the-moment decisions.

As the trial unfolds, Dick’s testimony serves as a crucial piece of evidence. His account of the events leading up to Jaillet’s tragic death provides insight into the shocking and sudden nature of the crime. The jury will weigh Dick’s testimony, along with other evidence, as they deliberate and determine Burton’s guilt.

The trial will continue as the prosecution presents their case, aiming to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Burton is responsible for Jaillet’s death. The defense, on the other hand, will continue to argue for a lesser charge, painting a picture of a disorganized and impulsive perpetrator. Ultimately, it will be up to the jury to reach a verdict that reflects the gravity of the crime and does justice to the memory of Jacob Jaillet.