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Judge upholds murder charge

Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, 12:51 a.m.
 

A Westmoreland County judge ruled Tuesday that second-degree murder charges can stand against a Duquesne woman charged with buying the bullets used in the murder of a Monessen man last year.

Judge Al Bell, in an 11-page court ruling, said prosecutors had enough evidence to take the case against Chalsee Hughes to a jury.

Hughes, 20, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, robbery and other related offenses in connection with the Dec. 3, 2012 shooting death of 36-year-old Chris “Snaxx” Fincik.

The prosecution contends Hughes agreed to purchase ammunition at a Wal-Mart store that she believed would be used in a robbery. Police said the ammunition used to kill Fincik was the same bullets purchased by Hughes.

According to court records, Hughes told police she went to Wal-Mart in Rostraver with Josh Stepoli and Antoine Hairston of Monessen who needed bullets to commit a robbery. Hughes was asked to purchase the ammunition because she had identification to prove she was 18.

The prosecution has not charged Stepoli or Hairston in connection with the Fincik murder.

Stepoli and Hairston are both in Westmoreland County Prison on $100,000 bond on attempted murder and other charges for a separate shooting incident in the city.

“From the circumstantial evidence presented there now becomes a question for the trier of fact as to whether or not the defendant intended to promote or facilitate the crime of robbery,” Bell wrote on the Hughes case.

Bell also refused to set a bond for Hughes. Hughes was ineligible for bail because she was charged with first- and second-degree murder, the prosecution said.

The prosecution has charged Earl Pinkney, 19, of Monessen, with murder in connection with the Fincik homicide.

Pinkney told police he was there at the time of the murder, but that Josh Stepoli was the shooter.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com. Staff writer Rick Bruni also contributed to this story.

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