Appeal denied for Latrobe man convicted for 2016 murder
A Westmoreland County judge on Tuesday rejected the appeal of a Latrobe man serving a 20-year prison sentence for the murder of a friend during a botched robbery.
Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio in a 39-page opinion found there was sufficient evidence to support the third-degree murder conviction against Colin Gearhart. Gearhart, 21, was one of three men convicted for the January 2016 shooting death of 20-year-old Daniel McNerny.
The prosecution contended Gearhart conspired with two friends to rob a Pittsburgh-area drug dealer who visited Gearhart’s home on St. Clair Street. The plot, according to authorities, was hatched as retribution for a verbal slight.
McNerny was shot and killed when he attempted to intervene in the robbery. He was not part of the plot nor was he it’s intended victim. Gearhart did not testify in his four-day trial in March, when his defense lawyer argued he was not a participant in the murder and that it was master-minded by two others. Prosecutors contended Gearhart was the person who lured the plot’s intended victim to Latrobe.
Zachary McGrath, 24, of Latrobe, the masked man police said fired the fatal shots, was convicted in January of first-degree murder and is serving a life prison sentence.
Austin Krinock, 21, of Johnstown, was convicted last year of second-degree murder and is serving a 34-year prison sentence. Prosecutors said Krinock was the man who pushed the retaliation and secured the gun that was used in the robbery.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .