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Man who killed robber won't be tried

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

From local and wire dispatches

Fayette County District Attorney Nancy Vernon will not prosecute a Uniontown man who shot and killed one of three intruders accused of brandishing guns during a robbery and shootout in an apartment complex.

State police said yesterday that Vernon will not prosecute James Simon Thompson, 46, because he acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Charles Lendell, 28.

But police have charged David Alexander Sims, 33, and Antonio Lanko, 16, with homicide in Lendell's death because it occurred during a robbery. Lanko was charged as an adult. Both are charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Sims and Lanko, who were jailed without bail, face a preliminary hearing Jan. 10 before District Justice Deberah Kula in North Union.

Between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Saturday, state police said, Lendell, Sims and Lanko burst into an apartment at the Lemon Wood Acres complex in Uniontown, where Thompson was visiting several friends, and pointed their guns at the group. The three took money and other items from people in the apartment.

Thompson got a gun and fired at the intruders. A shootout ensued and the three men, two of whom wore knit ski masks that covered their faces, fled through the apartment's back door.

Lanko suffered a gunshot wound to his leg outside the apartment. Sims was wounded in the upper left thigh. Police did not know if Thompson was the shooter.

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