Monessen murder suspect tells judge officers got his story wrong
By Rich Cholodofsky
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A Monessen man told a Westmoreland County judge on Monday that he did not confess to being at the scene of a murder last year.
Earl V. Pinkney, 19, testified during a pretrial hearing that he told detectives he was on drugs and was with two other men during an unrelated shooting two weeks before the body of Chris “Snaxx” Fincik was found in his Monessen home.
Pinkney is in jail awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder and other offenses in connection with Fincik's death.
Fincik, 36, was found on Dec. 4 near the front door of his Maple Avenue home with gunshot wounds in the chest, abdomen and right arm.
Police contend Pinkney confessed to being at the home with the two men when Fincik was shot. Pinkney said on Monday that police got his story wrong.
“It was related to a time two weeks ago,” Pinkney testified.
County Detective Robert Weaver said when Pinkney was interrogated a day after he was arrested for the attempted murder of another Monessen man, he was confronted with evidence that suggested he owned the AK-47 used to shoot Fincik and confessed to being present during the murder.
Weaver testified Pinkney said he, Josh Stepoli and Antoine Hairston went to rob Fincik at his home, and Stepoli shot the victim through the door.
The defense wants the murder charge dropped. Defense attorney James Fox said Pinkney's confession was improperly obtained and that there is no evidence of a robbery.
Weaver testified that 39 bundles of heroin, nearly 130 grams of cocaine and more than $3,200 were found in Fincik's home.
“There is not sufficient evidence to establish my client committed a robbery or a homicide,” Fox said.
Pinkney and 20-year-old Chalsee L. Hughes of Duquesne have been charged in connection with Fincik's murder. Hughes is accused of purchasing the bullets used in the murder.
Stepoli and Hairston have not been charged.
“We do not have evidence that would be admissible against Stepoli and Hairston,” said District Attorney John Peck. “They are suspects, and the investigation is ongoing.”
Westmoreland County Judge Al Bell said he would rule on the defense's request after he reviews written legal arguments later this year.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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