Suspect in 2017 Youngwood murder wants confession barred from evidence
The man police said was the ringleader of the group that allegedly conspired to rob and kill a Youngwood drug dealer two years ago wants a Westmoreland County judge to bar multiple confessions made in the weeks that followed the fatal stabbing.
Christopher David, 41, of Youngwood, contends he was under the influence of drugs when he first spoke with investigators a day after 50-year-old Matthew Genard was stabbed to death in his home. David gave at least two other statements, including one at the jail two weeks after his arrest, investigators said.
Defense attorney James Robinson said Thursday that David had a long history of drug addiction and, as a result, was unable to voluntarily consent to speak with police during those interrogations.
“When his statements were made, he was suffering from long-term addiction,” Robinson said.
David did not testify during the pretrial hearing before Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani. Robinson said he had no expert testimony about David’s condition and David’s silence during the hearing was a strategic decision.
Prosecutors contend David was the leader of the four-person group that plotted to rob Genard of drugs and money. David, Jason Sullenberger, 41, Michael Covington Jr., 21, and Linda Kay Quidetto, 41, all of Youngwood, were each charged with criminal homicide, robbery and conspiracy in connection with Genard’s death in November 2017.
Investigators said as the three men met with Genard, David put him in a choke hold, exposing his back to allow Sullenberger and Covington to repeatedly stab him.
Genard was stabbed as many as 20 times, according to police.
Police said the men left with Genard’s clothes, money and drugs.
The next day, the men and Quidetto split up two bricks of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and about $1,100 in cash taken from Genard’s home, police said.
Investigators said David contacted police the day after the murder and asked to speak to detectives. During that meeting, David claimed he was present when Genard was killed but he wasn’t the person who inflicted the fatal wounds, according to state police Trooper John Beynon.
Beynon testified David had a blackened eye he attempted to cover with sunglasses and eventually blamed the injury on the fatal altercation.
“He said he was elbowed by Genard during the course of the homicide,” Beynon testified.
David again admitted his role in the killing when police arrested him a week later, according to Trooper Christopher Cole.
“He said, ‘I didn’t kill the dude. I just held him,’” Cole said.
In all, three troopers testified they had three separate interactions with David over a two-week period and at no time did he appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“He was walking calmly, he spoke clearly and he was lucid,” Beynon said.
The judge said he will rule on the defense motion after he reviews audio and video recordings of the interrogations.
Feliciani in June rejected a similar claim raised by Sullenberger, who also sought to have his confessions barred from evidence. Sullenberger claimed he was under the influence of drugs when he spoke to police.
Trial dates for each of the four accused in Genard’s murder have not been scheduled.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .