Prosecutors pursue immunity in Monessen slaying
Westmoreland County prosecutors contend a Duquesne woman can implicate her former boyfriend, who is accused of murdering a Monessen drug dealer two years ago.
The problem is that Chalsee Hughes, 21, has refused to testify against her boyfriend and has been prosecuted for her involvement in the Dec. 3, 2012, robbery and murder of 36-year-old Chris “Snax” Fincik.
Hughes appeared in court Tuesday for a hearing before Judge Chris Feliciani, who is being asked to give her immunity for her testimony against Earl Pinkney.
Pinkney, 20, of Monessen is charged with first-degree murder in Fincik's death.
District Attorney John Peck said Hughes, who was convicted last year of conspiracy and robbery charges and is serving a 4 1⁄2- to nine-year prison sentence, implicated Pinkney and two other men when police interviewed her days after the shooting.
She was found not guilty of murder charges.
Westmoreland County Detective Robert Weaver testified Tuesday that Hughes claimed Pinkney, along with Josh Stepoli and Antoine Hairston — they have not been charged in the case — planned to rob Fincik using ammunition she had purchased.
Hughes told police that Stepoli and Hairston accompanied her to a local store to purchase ammunition for a robbery. She was later told about the deadly robbery by Pinkney, Weaver said.
“Earl was acting funny and eventually he told her he, Josh and Antoine went to Snax's house to do a robbery and it didn't go well. Snax ended up getting shot and it wasn't supposed to go that way,” Weaver testified.
Hughes will not testify without immunity, her defense lawyer Tim Andrews said.
Peck said Hughes can be given immunity and that anything she testifies to would not be used against her should her convictions be overturned on appeal and a new trial is ordered in her case.
“She obviously has very important information as to the death of Mr. Fincik,” Peck said.
Feliciani said he will rule when attorneys submit written legal arguments.
Pinkney's trial has not been scheduled.
Police contend Hughes was staying at Pinkney's home when the fatal shooting occurred.
Investigators have said Pinkney admitted he was at Fincik's home at the time of the shooting and told police he was with two other men, whom he has refused to identify.
Fincik was gunned down by three masked men who fired four shots through a kitchen door. Police found heroin, cocaine and more than $3,100 in his home, according to investigators.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.