Suspect in killing of armored-car partner switches to non-jury trial
Opening statements are set to begin Friday in the homicide trial of a Dravosburg man accused of killing his fellow armored-car guard and fleeing to Florida with $2.3 million.
Ken Konias Jr., 23, is charged with killing Michael Haines, 31, inside their truck on Feb. 28, 2012. Investigators said Konias ditched the truck under the 31st Street Bridge and fled to Pompano Beach, Fla., where FBI agents and police arrested him several weeks later, on April 23. Police recovered some of the money.
Common Pleas Judge David Cashman dismissed the three jurors Konias' attorney Charles LoPresti and Assistant District Attorney Rob Schupansky selected on Thursday afternoon when Konias decided to go with a non-jury trial.
LoPresti did not return calls. He has said his client shot Haines in self-defense.
Wes Oliver, a Duquesne University law professor, said it's likely that LoPresti or Konias “didn't like what they were seeing from the jury or the jury pool.”
“One of them made a calculation that Cashman would be better than what they have seen in the preliminary selection,” Oliver said.
Konias can change his mind again anytime before Schupansky calls his first of about 40 witnesses that include federal, local and Florida law enforcement officers. The DA's office is not seeking the death penalty at the request of Haines' family.
In the six weeks between Haines' death and Konias' arrest in the seedy Pompano Beach neighborhood of Cypress, Konias spent money on prostitutes and strippers, and traded drugs for sex. He used taxis to get around the coastal town 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale and used a fake name and false identification.
Investigators said they recovered about $1.3 million in cash from a storage unit near a house he rented.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
- McCandless residents voice opposition to Wal-Mart plan
- Castle Shannon mayor honored by statewide association
- TSA fee increase this week arrives with load of complaints
- Squirrel Hill street that had been paved getting another pave job
- Pittsburgh Cultural Trust leads applicants seeking increase in RAD money
- 1 intruder killed, another injured in Carrick home invasion
- Ukrainian festival will go on in McKees Rocks despite crisis in homeland
- Moon Area board reconfigures elementary buildings, votes again to close school and explore merging with Cornell
- Shenango asks judge to dismiss suit by environmental group
- N.C. churches lend helping hands in Western Pa.
- Save-the-map appeal generates $10K online to revitalize North Side artwork