Jailhouse informant allowed to testify in Monessen killing
A jailhouse informant will be permitted to testify next month during a Duquesne woman's homicide trial.
Westmoreland County Judge Al Bell ruled on Thursday that Amy Calabrese, 30, of the South Hills of Allegheny County, can tell a jury about a conversation she claims she had with Chalsee Hughes, 21, while both were at the county prison.
Hughes allegedly purchased the bullets used to kill her godfather, Chris “Snax” Fincik, 36, on Dec. 3, 2012, at his Monessen home. She is facing homicide and robbery charges.
During a pretrial hearing on Thursday, Calabrese testified that she and Hughes talked at the prison in January 2013 about the shooting.
“She bought the bullets,” Calabrese testified. “She knew they were going to do something.”
Fincik was found near the front door of his Maple Avenue home with gunshot wounds to his chest, abdomen and right arm.
Hughes told police she went to Wal-Mart in Rostraver with two men who needed bullets to commit a robbery, according to court records. They asked her to purchase the ammunition because she had identification to prove she was 18.
Police have not charged those two men in connection with Fincik's death. Homicide charges are pending against Earl Pinkney, 20, of Monessen in the shooting.
Calabrese testified that Hughes said she drove the two men to Fincik's home after purchasing the bullets.
Following the shooting, “once they left, they went to some lady's house and destroyed the gun,” Calabrese testified.
Investigators have not recovered the murder weapon.
Calabrese said she told her attorney about the conversation, and a meeting was arranged with investigators in January 2013. The day after that meeting, Calabrese was released from prison when her $30,000 bail was changed to unsecured.
Calabrese asked for the bond reduction at the meeting, she testified.
Theft and receiving stolen property charges stemming from a July 2012 incident in Lower Burrell are pending against Calabrese. She has a criminal history of mostly deception-related crimes in Allegheny County dating to 2001.
Her “credibility is suspect,” argued Hughes' attorney, Tim Andrews.
“I also believe she knew she was going to get a benefit,” he said.
District Attorney John Peck said investigators did not ask Calabrese to ferret out information about the shooting while in prison.
Investigators contend that Hughes drove the men to the store on Dec. 2, 2012, and used her driver's license to purchase 7.62-caliber cartridges. Monessen police found three 7.62-caliber cartridges near Fincik's back porch.
Jury selection for Hughes' trial is set to begin on Monday. Opening arguments are scheduled for March 24.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 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.
- Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
- Derry man gets 19-year prison sentence for recording sex assaults of girl
- Kecksburg celebrates its UFO history with annual festival
- Girl, 10, forced to strip in Sewickley Township home invasion
- Southmoreland School director named
- Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released
- Westmoreland torture-slaying convict Smyrnes says death row isolation too cruel
- Police: Scottdale man had child porn on computer
- Music on way to Westmoreland’s Twin Lakes Park
- Greensburg YMCA seeks soccer sites for fall
- Contract talks progress in Derry