Another 'Pork Chop' defendant gets probation
A West Mifflin man is the latest to get probation for his role in a McKeesport gambling ring state prosecutors called “Operation Pork Chop.”
But Timothy J. Minkus, 32, may go to jail in another case heard Tuesday by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.
Minkus had two nonjury trials before McDaniel. In one he admitted guilt to setting up a numbers or lottery game and a gambling devices charge, both allegedly in the service of Ronald “Porky” Melocchi, 56, of Belle Vernon.
“Sentence is two years probation,” said Carolyn E. Myers, spokeswoman for Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
Senior deputy attorney general Michael M. Ahwesh withdrew felony counts of employment in a corrupt organization, conspiring to use proceeds from such an organization and dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, as well as a misdemeanor conspiracy count.
In the other case, Minkus was tried on nine traffic counts filed by Duquesne police on June 19, 2013, including a second-degree felony count of aggravated assault while driving under the influence.
“Minkus entered a general plea of guilty to all the charges with the exception of aggravated assault, which was changed to recklessly endangering another person,” said Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. “Sentencing will be on Aug. 25 and there is no agreement to sentencing.”
Reckless endangerment is a second-degree misdemeanor. Minkus was charged as well with three DUI counts, two of them first-degree misdemeanors, one a second-degree, and summary counts of careless and reckless driving, failure to stop at a red signal, driving at an unsafe speed and failure to stay in the right lane.
McDaniel set sentencing in that case for Aug. 19 at 1:30 p.m. Monroeville attorney Patrick Thomassey, who represented Minkus in both, could not be reached for comment.
Minkus is the seventh “Pork Chop” defendant to receive probation out of 16 indicted last September. Eight will go before three Common Pleas judges next week.
On Tuesday, retired McKeesport police Lt. Arthur D. Pero, 57, will go before Judge Beth A. Lazzara for a non-jury trial on two misdemeanor counts of setting up lotteries.
On the following day, McKeesport Councilman Daniel K. Carr is scheduled to enter a plea before Judge Joseph K. Williams III, who sentenced five defendants to probation on April 17. Mark Novakovich, 56, of White Oak is scheduled for a nonjury trial before Williams on a misdemeanor count of allowing gambling at his Twin Oaks restaurant.
Before Judge Donald E. Machen, Clairton Municipal Authority member James A. Cerqua, 58, of Clairton (three felonies, four misdemeanors); Forward Township police Chief Mark P. Holtzman, 57, of McKeesport (two felonies, two misdemeanors); Terence P. McNelis, 52, of Baldwin (three felonies, three misdemeanors); and Rodney Elia Iannelli, 53, of Ohio Township (three felonies, two misdemeanors) all are scheduled for non-jury trials on June 4.
Melocchi is scheduled to enter a plea on June 26 before Williams. He is charged with felony counts of corrupt organization, conspiring to use profits of unlawful activities, dealing in proceeds of those activities, and criminal use of a communication facility, as well as 53 misdemeanors.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin renovation project uncovers time capsule of images
- McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge reopens to traffic after electrical fire
- Company announces it will close McKeesport site that employs 100
- McKeesport fire damages kitchen, but no one hurt
- Comprehensive plan for cities aired
- New McKeesport controller Maglicco takes oath of office
- Wilmerding targeted for mobile farmers market
- Jamie’s Dream Team charity grateful for Pens funding
- McKeesport Area schools to provide outreach activities
- Plan to air Tuesday in McKeesport
- West Mifflin Area boosts technology