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Defendant to get new lawyer in murder of Monessen man

| Friday, March 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Monessen man accused in the December murder of another city man will get a new lawyer.

Earl V. Pinkney appeared in court Thursday morning for a brief hearing after which his attorney withdrew from the case because of a conflict of interest.

Public Defender Alan J. Manderino told Westmoreland County Judge John E. Blahovec his office represented a key witness in the case against Pinkney.

“The public defender's office may represent a person who may have spoken with the district attorney's office and provided information against Mr. Pinkney,” Manderino said. “I don't know what the information is.”

Pinkney, 19, is charged with criminal homicide in connection with the Dec. 3 slaying of Chris Fincik, who was gunned down during a robbery at his Maple Avenue home, according to police.

In addition to Pinkney, police charged Chalsee L. Hughes, 19, of Duquesne with homicide. Prosecutors contend Hughes purchased the ammunition used in the shooting.

In court on Thursday, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck confirmed that prosecutors have spoken to witnesses who have implicated Pinkney.

Peck did not indicate who has spoken with police or if any additional charges will be filed.

During an interview Thursday afternoon, Peck said police believe more people may have been involved in the Fincik slaying.

“The case is still under investigation,” Peck said.

Pinkney and four others have been charged with attempted murder involving a case that police contend ultimately stemmed from the fatal shooting.

Police contend that the group attacked Jaisen Irwin just hours after Fincik's murder. Irwin was suspected by Pinkney and his co-defendants of spreading rumors linking them to the murder, according to authorities.

In addition to Pinkney and Hughes, Antoine Hairston, 19, of Monessen; Josh Stepoli, 18, his brother Terrance Stepoli, 20; and their sister, Samone Stepoli, 21, all face charges of attempted murder.

No trial dates are scheduled.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293.

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