PITTSBURGH (AP) — A convicted Pittsburgh drug dealer can have a private funeral viewing of his daughter's body — in the courthouse, a federal judge ruled after prosecutors and marshals raised security and other concerns about letting the man go to a church funeral viewing.
Ronnie Lubron Steave, 39, pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking Wednesday and was jailed at a federal detention center in northeastern Ohio to await sentencing. His daughter, 17-year-old Mysharri Millender, died in a car crash Sunday. Steave's attorney asked that his client be allowed to go to her visitation at a city church.
Prosecutors objected, saying Steave is a risk to flee because he faces 15 years in prison, is a danger to the community and because of costs of transporting him and securing the viewing.
Federal marshals also told the court that they frown upon such arrangements for security reasons, though they've done it when judges have insisted.
That's why U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab crafted a compromise to have the girl's body brought to the courthouse for a private viewing, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1ai0GSQ ).
The judge ordered Steave's family to pay for the transfer, and details were still being arranged Friday.
"My client's grateful that he's going to be able to at least have this opportunity," Steave's attorney, Kenneth Haber, said in an interview. "I'm please the judge is allowing him to do this."
Pittsburgh's U.S. Marshal Steven Frank said he believes this is the first time such a thing has been done at the city's federal courthouse, though his office found instances of it in other jurisdictions.
"In this case it's a defendant whose daughter passed away in a tragic car accident," Frank said. "We have suggested it based on what they've done in other districts to maximize security.".
Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, http://www.post-gazette.com