A jury was selected Wednesday in Lycoming County Court to decide the fate of Roger Mitchell Riera, 24, accused of fatally shooting a 20-year-old man he was classmates with at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
The incident took place around 2 a.m. Sept. 18, 2011, at the corner of West Fourth and Market streets after Riera and Andrew Scott Gula became involved in an argument after leaving Rumrunners Pub and Eatery, 341 Market St., with a group of people.
According to city police, Riera told investigators Gula had words with him about a female acquaintance after leaving the establishment. Riera tried to calm Gula down, but he yelled that he was going to find him and kill him, police said.
Riera told police he heard footsteps coming toward him. He turned around to find Gula running at him saying that he was going to kill him, he said to investigators. Riera said he told Gula to stop and took out a .32 caliber pistol from his pocket and pointed it at him. Again telling Gula to stop, Riera fired one shot that struck the victim in the upper chest, according to police.
Riera, who police said called 911 immediately after the shooting, also told police he was aware that Gula was known to carry a knife.
The victim was not found with a knife and no other weapon was found at the scene, according to investigators.
Reira's defense attorneys have argued that he felt he was in physical danger for his life when he was approached by Gula.
He is charged with third-degree murder, as well as voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and two counts of aggravated assault.
Riera, who has been incarcerated in the Lycoming County Prison since his arrest the morning of the incident, lived in an apartment at 527 Pine St. at the time of the alleged shooting.
His trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 13 before a panel of nine women and three men.
Judge Nancy L. Butts is presiding over the case.