Trial expected to open Wednesday in Coal Center woman's murder
By Chris Buckley
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Opening arguments are expected to begin Wednesday morning in the trial of a California Borough man accused of robbing and killing a 92-year-old neighbor.
A jury of seven men and five women, with two female alternates, was chosen in Washington County this week in the criminal homicide trial of David J. McClelland, 37, a part-time Washington Township police officer at the time of the murder.
Evelyn Stepko was found dead July 18, 2011, at the bottom of the basement stairs of her Coal Center home by police after neighbors reported they hadn't seen her for several days. She died of two stab wounds to the neck — one sliced her jugular vein — and blunt-force trauma to the chest, which resulted in several broken ribs, according to the county coroner.
Prosecutors believe David J. McClelland and his father, David A. McClelland, burglarized Stepko's home several times in recent years. She kept large amounts of cash in the modest house where she had lived all of her life, police said. Investigators said they recovered about $82,000 in currency from Stepko's home after her death.
David A. McClelland, 58, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, burglary, robbery/inflicting serious bodily injury, theft by unlawful taking, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and three counts of conspiracy.
He is serving a life prison term, without chance for parole, for the murder conviction and up to 42 years on the other charges.
By accepting the plea deal, he avoided a possible death penalty.
David J. McClelland is charged with criminal homicide, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, receiving stolen property, aiding in the commission of a crime, and three counts of conspiracy.
Diane McClelland, wife of David A. McClelland and stepmother of David J. McClelland, was convicted last month of conspiracy to commit homicide, receiving stolen property, hindering apprehension or prosecution, dealing with proceeds of unlawful activities and criminal conspiracy.
Prosecutors previously decided not to seek the death penalty in David J. McClelland's case.
If he is found guilty of second-degree murder, he would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without chance of parole.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or 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.
- Help on deck to help Jeannette deal with Monsour, nearby buildings
- PSU students accused of intimidation
- Crash closes I-70 lanes for hours
- Jeannette alerted to police costs
- Greensburg inks new deal with police chief
- Pair robs Hempfield pharmacy
- 3 sentenced to prison in Salem drug, gun case
- Long-serving fire chief shrugs off honors
- Judge rejects deal in metal theft case
- Mt. Pleasant Holiday Homes Tour set
- Bank nixes Jeannette finance plan