Police look for link between two Pittsburgh-area cases

A fatal stabbing Wednesday shed light on a shooting from October

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State police are looking into whether an October shooting is related to the fatal stabbing Wednesday night of a Charleroi man.

Michael A. Martin, 40, of Charleroi is in Westmoreland County Prison on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of his father-in-law, Earl Weygandt, 67.

Trooper Stephen Limani said Mr. Weygandt was stabbed nine times and suffered three severe wounds to the throat with a "sharp instrument," which investigators have not found.

Last year, Mr. Weygandt was shot three or four times in his trailer at a campground in Donegal, Trooper Limani said after a news conference Friday at the state police barracks in Greensburg.

He told police somebody came into his residence at Laurel Highlands Campland Oct. 28 and shot him but didn't take anything before leaving.

"It's bad enough to be shot, but being stabbed nine times, I just don't understand," said Gloria DeChicchis of Bentleyville, Mr. Weygandt's sister.

"Only an evil person is capable of that."

Ms. DeChicchis also said she wasn't surprised Martin was arrested for the murder. She said Martin, Mr. Weygandt, Mr. Weygandt's wife and one of his daughters all stayed in a home in Charleroi, but she also said Mr. Weygandt spent "90 percent of his time at his campsite."

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said there were "issues" between Mr. Weygandt and his son-in-law but that investigators have not determined a motive for the stabbing.

"This was an extremely violent crime with the intent to kill the victim," Mr. Peck said.

Trooper Limani said Mr. Weygandt left home Wednesday night, telling the security guard at Roaring Run Resort in Champion, where he lived, that he was going to meet his stepdaughter's husband, who had called about car trouble.

He said he was going to pick him up and take him to a hotel "because he did not want [Martin] at his trailer because he would cause problems," state police wrote in a criminal complaint.

Mr. Weygandt met Martin along Route 31 and Martin got inside his vehicle.

Martin told police Mr. Weygandt pulled a revolver on him and the men struggled.

During that struggle, Martin told investigators, he stabbed Mr. Weygandt, according to the complaint.

Martin told police it was an act of self-defense.

Mr. Weygandt's antique-type gun was found in his Jeep Cherokee, but it was not used in the crime, the trooper said.

That wasn't the first version Martin told investigators. He told them earlier his father-in-law didn't show up, and that he ended up calling someone else for help, according to the complaint.

The man who initially covered for Martin later told investigators that "Martin had stopped over at his house around midnight and ask him to cover for him," state police wrote in the complaint.

"I don't know anybody that doesn't like my brother," Ms. DeChicchis said. "He was a good person doing a good deed and look what happened."

A preliminary hearing for Martin is scheduled for next week.

Martin also had previous run-ins with the law, pleading guilty to burglary, identity theft, four occurrences of DUI, driving with a suspended license, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief from 1994 to 2010.

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Kelton Brooks: kbrooks@post-gazette.com. First Published August 9, 2013 12:00 AM


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