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Testimony begins in Fayette double murder trial

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 11:14 a.m.

A Fayette County man testified Thursday in the murder trial of David J. Robertson Jr. that the suspect told him he obtained the gun used in the slayings of a Connellsville Township couple who were found shot to death in their home in 1995.

Gregory Rosensteel of Connellsville said Robertson made mention of his involvement about a month after the slayings.

Rosensteel recalled one day he was with Robertson and his girlfriend when they pulled up near a restaurant in Connellsville, where a man was working on a car. Robertson told them to stay in the car while he talked with the man. When Robertson returned, Rosensteel asked him who the man was.

'That was the guy who pulled the trigger,' Rosensteel recalled Robertson telling him.

When Rosensteel asked him what he was talking about, Robertson referred to the killings of Edward and Karen Marie Povlik, whose bodies were found in their Broadford home after a New Year's Eve party.

'I got the gun, but that was the guy who pulled the trigger,' Rosensteel recalled Robertson telling him.

Rosensteel did not identify the person about whom Robertson was speaking.

The alleged triggerman, Gerald Eugene Powell of Connellsville Township, is awaiting trial on charges of criminal homicide and criminal conspiracy. Prosecutors contend that Edward Povlik sold illicit drugs from his home and had cut off Robertson, claiming Robertson had stolen from him. Powell accompanied Robertson to the Povliks' mobile home along Broadford Road that night for the purpose of robbing them, investigators say.

Earlier in his testimony, Rosensteel said he had loaned Robertson a .22-caliber revolver to go target-shooting on Jan. 31, 1994, the day before the Povliks bodies were discovered. He said the gun was returned to him a couple days later. The handgun Rosensteel loaned to Robertson was introduced as evidence and identified by Rosensteel, but no testimony has been heard yet identifying the gun as the murder weapon.

Among others to testify yesterday was Pittsburgh forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, who reported on autopsy results.

Wecht said Edward Povlik died of two gunshot wounds to the head, both of which would probably have been fatal. The gunshots caused multiple fractures and created severe brain damage, according to Wecht.

Karen Povlik, Wecht said, sustained seven gunshot wounds, three of which he considered potentially fatal. One shot entered near the right ear, one to the right jaw, one to the right cheek, one through the left thigh, one through left forearm and once each in the left and right back.

Fragments and entire slugs of the .22 caliber shells were recovered during the autopsy, Wecht said.

John Mongell, of Connellsville, testified that he was once a roommate of Robertson and about the time of the slayings had gone to the Povlik residence to buy morphine. He said he and Robertson split the $30 cost to purchase the drug.

Also testifying yesterday was John Sanzone, of Connellsville, who said he went to the Povliks the night of Jan. 1, 1995, to collect some money Povlik owed him. He said he knocked on the door several times and finally opened the screen door and knocked on the inside door, which opened.

'I saw Ed Povlik lying face down in a pool of blood,' he said.

Sanzone said he first went to the home of Roger Adams, a former township police officer. Not finding him at home, Sanzone went to Connellsville Police who contacted state police.

Trooper James Custer, the prosecuting officer, will take the stand as testimony resumes today.

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