Women plead guilty to helping Lower Burrell policeman's killer
A woman and her niece pleaded guilty on Thursday to helping the man who shot and killed Lower Burrell police officer Derek Kotecki to avoid arrest less than two weeks before the fatal shooting.
Nicole Walters, 39, and her 25-year-old niece, Amanda Walters, both of Lower Burrell, were charged with helping Charlie Post in the days after he was accused of attempted murder in a shooting in the Clarion Hotel parking lot in New Kensington.
Police said Nicole Walters is a former girlfriend of Charlie Post.
The women pleaded guilty to felony charges of hindering apprehension and conspiracy. Westmoreland County Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. will sentence them in about three months.
Prosecutors said the two gave Post food, money, clothing and a cellphone after he went on the run following the New Kensington shooting on Oct. 2, 2011.
Ten days later, police found Post, 33, at a Lower Burrell Dairy Queen. Kotecki was shot and killed during a gunfight outside the restaurant. Post killed himself during the firefight.
“We were seeking Charlie Post for attempted murder, so anything is possible. If only they had assisted law enforcement, it (Kotecki's death) might not have occurred,” said Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro.
Both women declined to comment after Thursday's hearing. Their lawyers said neither was to blame for Kotecki's death.
“She did nothing to cause that police officer's death,” said Nicole Walter's lawyer, Stan Levenson. “She felt very coerced and intimidated into assisting Mr. Post.”
Amanda Walter's lawyer, Ryan Tutera, said his client was sorry that her actions ultimately led to Kotecki's murder.
“No one foresaw that. It was tragic. Her involvement was very minimal,” Tutera said.
Post's older brother, Chad Post, faces similar charges. Police said Chad Post drove his brother from New Kensington to a location in Allegheny County.
On Thursday, Chad Post's case was delayed until June, when pretrial motions will be heard.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.