Detective: Latrobe teen knew about robbery plan that resulted in death |

Detective: Latrobe teen knew about robbery plan that resulted in death

Rich Cholodofsky

Westmoreland County investigators said that despite claims that he wanted to stop a robbery at his own home, a 17-year-old Latrobe teen allowed the plot to go forward, and his friend was shot and killed.

Detective Ray Dupilka testified Thursday in the third day of the second-degree murder trial of Colin Gearhart that the boy took no action as his two roommates executed the robbery in which 20-year-old Daniel McNerny was killed in early 2016.

Prosecutors rested their case against Gearhart, now 19, who is charged with second-degree murder and robbery in connection with the fatal shooting. McNerny, who was not part of the plot or its intended victim, was shot as he attempted to intervene in the robbery in front of Gearhart’s St. Clair Street home.

Although he initially denied any involvement in the robbery, Gearharteventually admitted to knowing about the plan, Dupilka told jurors.

Gearhart said his two friendsplotted to rob a former school mate. Austin Krinock and Zachary McGrath were in possession of three guns and knew their intended target, Christopher Showers of Pittsburgh, carried large amounts of drugs and cash, Gearhart told police.

But as the plans took shape, Gearhart claimed he got cold feet, Dupilka testified.

“He said he used Facebook Messenger and sent a message to Austin Krinock that it wasn’t a good idea to go forward with the robbery. Krinock responded not to (expletive) out and he would get his share of the money,” Dupilka testified.

A forensic investigation of Gearhart’s phone found no evidence that a message to halt the robbery was sent to Krinock or anyone else, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors contend Gearhart lured Showers to Latrobe. McGrath wore a mask and held Showers and another man at gunpoint out on the street and demanded drugs and money. McNerny was shot when he attempted to disarm McGrath, police said.

Gearhart told police he and Krinock delayed calling for help to assist the injured McNerny so they could remove all drug evidence from the home.

“He said he panicked and that he and Krinock attempted to clean up the drug evidence. They delayed contacting police for eight to 10 minutes so the drugs could be removed and the home sanitized,” Dupilka said.

Prosecutors contend McNerny’s life could have been saved if he had received prompt medical treatment for his gunshot wounds.

Investigators said drugs and more than $12,000 of Showers’ money was found hidden in a shed behind Gearhart’s home.

Krinock, now 19, of Johnstown and McGrath, 23, of Latrobe were pre­viously convicted of second-degree murder in connection with McNerny’s death. Gearhart is being prosecuted as an accomplice and a co-conspirator.

The defense will have an opportunity to present evidence when the trial resumes Friday morning before Common Pleas Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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