A Sharpsburg man has been charged with killing his aunt’s fiance after police said he tried to pawn jewelry that was missing from the crime scene.
Allegheny County police obtained a warrant Tuesday charging Michael Lapaglia, 23, with homicide, burglary and robbery in connection with the shooting death of 59-year-old John Parkes Jr.
Mr. Parkes was found shot to death inside the family living room about 3 p.m. July 21.
“The victim’s home had clearly been ransacked,” police wrote in a criminal complaint. Missing, police said, were a man's horseshoe ring, a gold football pendant, a gold shamrock pendant, two watches and other jewelry.
While investigating the death, police learned that Mr. Parkes’ nephew had stolen jewelry from the house in September, according to the complaint.
Detectives visited a pawn shop about two blocks from the family home three days after Mr. Parkes was killed.
An employee there told police that Mr. Lapaglia attempted to sell him jewelry the day that Mr. Parkes died, but because Mr. Lapaglia had attempted to sell him stolen jewelry before, the employee took pictures of the items and told him to return the next day, according to the complaint. Mr. Lapaglia did not return.
As detectives showed photos of the jewelry to Mr. Lapaglia’s aunt, Carol Lapaglia, she began to cry and grabbed a detective by the arm. Ms. Lapaglia, who declined to comment, told police the items in the photos belong to her, Mr. Parkes and her mother.
A week and a half passed. On Monday, Allegheny County police received a call from a Pittsburgh detective who told them that Mr. Lapaglia had sold jewelry and coins to a Downtown pawn shop for about $1,000. The items at the store matched those reported missing by Ms. Lapaglia, police wrote.
Liz Navratil: email@example.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published August 5, 2014 12:00 AM