Konias held for trial in armored-truck killing, theft

A district judge this morning ordered a trial for the armored-truck driver accused of killing his partner and stealing $2.3 million after investigators testified that his claim that the killing was in self-defense did not match physical evidence.

Kenneth Konias Jr., 22, of Dravosburg, could face the death penalty in the Feb. 28 slaying of Michael Haines, 31, whose body was discovered inside the truck the two operated for Garda Cash Logistics. He faces charges including homicide and robbery.

Mr. Konias spent most of the money on prostitutes, a pimp and a cab driver who offered to help him escape the country, an FBI agent testified at a preliminary hearing this morning.

Konias held for trial

Kenneth Konias Jr. was held for trial. Konias, an armored-truck driver, is accused of killing his partner and stealing $2.3 million. (Video by Nate Guidry; 6/7/2012)

Prosecutors believe they have recovered all but $500,000 of the money taken.

Mr. Konias spent 55 days on the run before authorities captured him in Pompano Beach, Fla., where he holed up at the home of a pimp he befriended. A male friend of a prostitute he was seeing tipped Pittsburgh police to his whereabouts.

Mr. Konias headed almost immediately to Florida, attaching a phony plate to his Ford Explorer and stopping only for gas, Gerard Starkey, the FBI agent who questioned Mr. Konias after his arrest, testified today.

Soon after arriving in Boca Raton, he met a cab driver to whom he would eventually pay as much as $800,000 to smuggle him to Haiti to hideout, the agent said Mr. Konias told him.

Agent Starkey said he questioned Mr. Konias for several hours. Mr. Konias confessed, the agent said, claiming he shot his partner in the back of the head in self-defense after the two argued over a piece of equipment inside the vehicle.

Mr. Haines pulled his company handgun on him during what the agent said Mr. Konias described as a violent struggle. Mr. Konias said he kicked the weapon from his partner's hand and then shot him with his own Glock company handgun, Agent Starkey said.

But evidence inside the Garda truck showed no signs of a struggle, Pittsburgh homicide Detective James R. Smith told District Judge Mary Murray, who said very little as she held Mr. Konias for trial.

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Sadie Gurman: sgurman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. First Published June 8, 2012 3:45 PM


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