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2 of 5 Monessen suspects in attempted homicide caught

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 12:20 p.m.
Earl Pinkney Submitted to the Tribune-Review
(Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)
Josh Stepoli taken on August 18, 2010. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Eric Schmadel
Monessen basketball player Samone Stepoli photographed on March 28, 2009 in Greensburg. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
(Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review)
Terrance Stepoli taken on August 18, 2010. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Five Monessen residents, including two brothers who were standout high school athletes, were charged Tuesday with attempted homicide after they allegedly chased and tried to shoot a man who they believed had accused them of killing another man Monday.

Joshua Stepoli, 18; Terrance Stepoli, 20; Samone Stepoli, 21; Earl V. Pinkney, 18; and Antoine Hairston, 19, of Monessen, were charged with attempt-ed homicide, attempted aggravated assault and two conspiracy charges.

Pinkney, of 617 Chestnut St., is in custody, Monessen Police Chief Mark Gibson said. Samone Stepoli turned herself in late Tuesday afternoon after learning of the warrant for her arrest, Gibson said.

The other suspects were still at large Tuesday evening.

Police allege that the five attacked Jason Irwin around 4 p.m. Monday, according to court documents.

Irwin, whose age and address were unavailable, told police he was sitting outside the Elks Club on Knox Avenue when a blue car driven by Samone Stepoli pulled up. Irwin said Terrance Stepoli got out of the car and accused Irwin of telling people “they” were involved in the fatal shooting of Chris Fincik, 36, at his Maple Avenue home.

Fincik was shot and killed after answering the door around 12:25 a.m. Monday. Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said no charges have been filed in Fincik's death.

Irwin told police that Terrance Stepoli extended his hand as if to offer a handshake, then tried to slap Irwin in the face. Three other people then got out of the car, Irwin said.

Josh Stepoli walked toward an empty lot across from the Elks while Hairston, of 673 McMahon Ave., and Pinkney chased Irwin, he said.

Terrance Stepoli ran back to the car while Samone Stepoli yelled for him, Irwin told police.

Irwin said he ran down a set of stairs and as he got to the bottom he saw a beam from a laser sight and then heard a shot.

Irwin ran into an apartment in Highland Manor and heard a second shot before he closed the door. Through the blinds of an upstairs window, he saw at least three people run from the area, he said.

Police found a semi-automatic handgun with a laser sight about 300 feet from the steps.

Brothers Joshua and Terrance Stepoli were standout athletes for the Monessen Greyhounds and Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions.

Both played football and basketball; Terrance Stepoli also ran track. Their sister, Samone, played basketball for the Greyhounds. They all live together at 2060 Grand Blvd., according to court records.

Pinkney played basketball for Monessen.

Three of the five have prior criminal arrests.

Hairston was accepted into a program for first-time, nonviolent offenders in November on charges of loitering and disorderly conduct in Monessen. Terrance Stepoli served seven to 30 days in prison for loitering in that same incident.

The Stepoli brothers recently were sentenced for an April incident in Charleroi. During a traffic stop, police found a stolen handgun under Terrance Stepoli's seat and another in Joshua Stepoli's pocket.

Joshua Stepoli was sentenced in Washington County Court to 60 days to 12 months in prison and 24 months' probation. He was to serve that sentence on house arrest. Terrance Stepoli was sentenced to 18 months of intermediate punishment, including 60 days on electronic home monitoring.

Terrance Stepoli posted messages to his Facebook page saying he would soon be free from house arrest. “Glad im on house arrest! who knows wat my name woulda been thrown into!!,” he wrote on Facebook early Tuesday morning.

He said he was thinking of going to see Fincik when he got off house arrest. Samone Stepoli lamented Fincik's death on Twitter. “I love you man. Watch over us all,” she wrote.

Samone Stepoli and Pinkney were scheduled to be arraigned via video late Tuesday, Gibson said.

Trib Total Media Staff writers Rick Bruni Jr. and Renatta Signorini contributed to this story. Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or jreeger@tribweb.com.

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