Sharpsburg man held for trial in killing of aunt's fiance

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A Sharpsburg man gave three other versions of events surrounding the death of his aunt’s fiance before he confessed to the crime, a detective said Friday.

First, Michael Lapaglia, 23, said he had nothing to do with the shooting death of John Parkes Jr., Allegheny County homicide Detective Steven Hitchings testified Friday at a preliminary hearing.

Next, Mr. Lapaglia said a man approached him about possibly selling some jewelry, the same items reported missing from Mr. Parkes’ Kennedy home when he was found shot to death there July 21, the detective said.

The third version involved a woman who played a role in attempts to sell the stolen items.

In the fourth version, Mr. Lapaglia said he asked his girlfriend to drive with him to his “uncle’s” house on Poplar Street so he could make amends for stealing from the family last year, the detective said.

When Mr. Lapaglia arrived at the house, he and Mr. Parkes began arguing, and Mr. Parkes put him in a chokehold, so Mr. Lapaglia shot him, Mr. Lapaglia told police.

He made those comments after detectives arrested him this month in Aspinwall, police said.

On Friday, District Judge Leonard Hromyak ordered Mr. Lapaglia to stand trial on charges of homicide, robbery and burglary.

Police obtained a warrant for Mr. Lapaglia this month after they said video from a Pittsburgh pawn shop showed that he had sold some of the items stolen from Mr. Parkes’ home shortly after the killing.

He had previously attempted to sell jewelry to a Sharpsburg pawn shop owner who would not take the items because he had previously been sold jewelry that turned out to be stolen, police said. But the shop owner did take photos of the items, police said.

That pawn shop owner mistakenly identified another man as the person who tried to sell him the jewelry from Mr. Parkes’ home, officials have said.

That led to the arrest of another man and subsequent withdrawal of that charge.

First Published August 15, 2014 12:00 AM


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