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Monessen man turns 19, slapped with murder charge

| Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 2:07 a.m.
Earl Pinkney of Monessen is led out of District Judge Joseph Dalfonso’s courtroom on Dec. 27, 2012. He faces criminal homicide, robbery and conspiracy charges for the shooting death of Chris Fincik on Dec. 3. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

MONESSEN – A Monessen man went to court Thursday facing an attempted homicide charge. He left with a bigger problem.

Earl Pinkney and his girlfriend now stand accused of killing a city resident earlier this month.

On his 19th birthday, Earl Pinkney of 617 Chestnut St. was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso on charges of criminal homicide, robbery, aggravated assault and three conspiracy counts in the Dec. 3 murder of Chris Fincik, who was gunned down inside his Maple Avenue home.

Pinkney's girlfriend, Chalsee Hughes, 19, of Duquesne was arraigned on the same charges. Police allege she used her identification card to purchase the ammunition used to kill Fincik.

The two were placed without bond in the Westmoreland County Prison in Hempfield Township. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled Jan. 4 before Dalfonso.

In an affidavit of probable cause — based on a statement by Hughes — police said Pinkney and Monessen residents Josh Stepoli and Antoine Hairston went to Fincik's house to rob him.

When Hughes learned Fincik had been shot and heard rumors her boyfriend was involved, she confronted Pinkney, who told her a plan to rob Fincik had gone awry, police wrote.

Pinkney – in a police interview the day after his Dec. 4 arrest on attempted homicide charges related to another case in Monessen – allegedly talked about the Fincik shooting.

According to the affidavit, Pinkney said: “I was there with Antoine (Hairston) and Josh (Stepoli). I was so high I didn't know where I was at. Josh did the shooting. I heard the shots and ran home.”

Fincik, 36, was shot three times and died shortly afterward near his front door. Monessen police found three expended 7.62-caliber cartridges, one of which was TulAmmo brand.

In a search of Pinkney's residence, police allegedly found an empty TulAmmo 7.62-caliber ammunition box. According to the affidavit, Pinkney said Stepoli took the bullets and left the empty box at the house.

During a police interview, Hughes admitted she provided identification needed to buy ammunition Dec. 2 at the Rostraver Walmart. Hughes reportedly said that en route to the store, Stepoli told her he was going to rob someone. Hughes said she didn't think they were going to commit the robbery in Monessen.

Hughes said Antoine Hairston gave Stepoli $20 to purchase the ammunition.

She also told police that Pinkney, Hairston and Stepoli have robbed people in the past, but never in Monessen.

Pinkney and Hughes were informed of the charges just minutes after Pinkney and Josh, Terrance and Samone Stepoli were ordered to stand trial on attempted homicide and other charges stemming from allegations they chased and shot at Jaisen Irwin on Dec. 4 at Highland Manor for spreading rumors that Josh Stepoli was involved in Fincik's murder.

Pinkney, Hairston and the Stepoli brothers were already being held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $100,000 cash bond on those charges.

Samone Stepoli remains free on $10,000 bond. Hairston's hearing was delayed Thursday, because he did not have an attorney.

When asked if other murder charges were pending in Fincik's death, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said, “All I can say is we're continuing to investigate.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.