Coatesville murder for hire trial ready to start

Jeremiah Bush

WEST CHESTER — At 9:15 a.m. on Oct. 21, 2006, the blood feud that had played itself out on the streets of Coatesville between Duron “Gotti” Peoples and Jonah “Sonny” Suber effectively ended when Suber opened the front door of his home and was fatally shot.

Peoples, Suber and their associates had been trading gunfire since earlier that year when the men developed a beef over Suber’s dalliance with Peoples’ then-girlfriend.

Suber had been wounded in one shooting, while People’s friend Brian Keith Brown had been killed.

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Odell “Zelly” Cannon, Suber’s brother, had been shot multiple time in a confrontation with Peoples’ brother, Omega “Kat” Peoples, but survived.

But with the murder of Suber and the imprisonment of the Peoples’ brothers, Cannon and others, the gunfire and bloodshed died down.

Not so, however, the criminal process that authorities hope will bring those responsible for the final shooting to justice.

On May 13, the first of four men arrested and charged with the murder-for-hire of Suber, 33, a city barbershop owner, will begin in Chester County Common Plea Court.

On Friday, attorneys in the case selected seven men and five women to hear the case in Judge David Bortner’s courtroom.

The trial is expected to run through Friday.

Accused is Jeremiah “Young” Bush, a 26-year-old Philadelphia man charged with first- and third-degree murder, burglary, recklessly endangering another person, and other offenses. The prosecution contends Bush served as the getaway driver for another Philadelphia man who allegedly fired the shots that killed Suber at Suber’s Walnut Street home.

Both were allegedly hired by Shamone “Kadof” Woods of Coatesville at the behest of Duron Peoples to avenge the killing of Brown and the shoot-out between Cannon and Omega Peoples.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Bush faces a mandatory life sentence behind bars without parole.

In a 2011 interview with the Daily Local News conducted at the Chester County prison, Bush declared his innocence of the charges and said witnesses who placed him at the scene of the shooting were lying.

Specifically, Bush challenges the prosecution’s use of multiple witnesses’ statements, including the woman who reportedly saw the get-away car driving away; another woman who claims Bush admitted to “handling business” the morning of the killing; and a man who lived in the same neighborhood as Bush in Philadelphia and is now serving time for gun and drugs charges and who faces homicide charges in a different case.

“I feel there’s a lot of injustice going on with my case,” Bush said at the time. “I’m just sitting in jail -- years of my life I can’t get back -- for something I didn’t do. There’s nothing in this case that points to my guilt.”

He has been held in custody since his arrest in 2009. He is represented by West Chester attorney Thomas P. McCabe. Veteran county Deputy District Attorney Ronald Yen will lead the prosecution.

All three other defendants will be tried at a later date.