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4 Westmoreland County Prison inmates disciplined for roles in fight

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Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Four Westmoreland County Prison inmates have been disciplined for their roles in a fight that sent one of the prisoners to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment.

Warden John Walton said Earl V. Pinkney, 19, of Monessen and three other inmates each will spend 120 days in “disciplinary segregation” as a result of the Sept. 8 fight that prison officials believe was planned.

Pinkney was beaten outside the range of surveillance cameras. Walton said he didn't know whether Pinkney was punched, hit with an object, kicked or some combination.

Sheriff Jon Held said Pinkney began to suffer seizures as a result of the beating.

He was taken by medical helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian, where he was treated for minor injuries. A sheriff's deputy accompanied Pinkney on the helicopter trip to Pittsburgh, and deputies provided 24-hour security in his hospital room, Walton said.

Pinkney returned to the jail on Sept. 10, the warden said.

Surveillance video showed Pinkney entering an empty cell on the prison's upper level, though he had been restricted to the facility's lower level, where his cell was located.

Walton said last week that officials had not determined a motive for the beating.

“We feel that this was set up,” Walton said. “This is where they agreed that they were going to fight.”

Walton declined to reveal the names of the three other inmates and would not comment about what provoked the confrontation.

Restricted housing limits inmates to only one hour a day outside their cell, Walton said.

Pinkney is accused of killing Chris “Snaxx” Fincik, 36, on Dec. 3, 2012. Fincik was found dead near the front door of his Maple Avenue home in Monessen with gunshot wounds in the chest, abdomen and an arm, according to investigators.

Walton said the findings of his internal probe have been forwarded to District Attorney John Peck, who said his office will determine if criminal charges are warranted.

Staff writer Rich Cholodofsky contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or

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