They planned to rob a jitney driver, police said, and it didn't matter who answered the call.
The driver, it turned out, was Monica Proviano, 28, who responded to South Trenton Avenue in Wilkinsburg on April 10. One of the men shot her in the head, police said, before they stole the car she was driving and left her to die on South Trenton.
The suspects, William McGraw of McKeesport and Timothy Brock of East Liberty, both 19, were charged Tuesday with homicide, robbery, robbery of a motor vehicle and criminal conspiracy in connection with the killing. McKeesport police took Mr. McGraw into custody Tuesday afternoon, and Pittsburgh Zone 3 police arrested Mr. Brock on April 11.
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Brock was driving the car Ms. Proviano drove the night she was killed, Allegheny County police said. Mr. Brock had been held on charges of receiving stolen property, escape, recklessly endangering another person and numerous traffic violations.
"It don't bring Monica back," said her mother, Shirley Proviano, "but I'm just glad they got them. I thank God."
Mr. Brock told investigators that April 10, he and three others, including Mr. McGraw, were inside a basement of a vacant house on South Avenue in Wilkinsburg when he agreed to rob someone with Mr. McGraw, county police Detective Daniel Mayer wrote in a criminal complaint. The two met while serving time in the Allegheny County Jail.
Someone in the group called a jitney from a blocked number to respond to South Trenton. Mr. Brock told detectives that Mr. McGraw had a "sawed off shotgun" with him before the vehicle arrived, Detective Mayer wrote.
Mr. Brock told investigators that when the jitney arrived, he got in the passenger front seat and Mr. McGraw sat in the backseat. Mr. McGraw took out the shotgun, pointed it at Monica Proviano's head and ordered her out of the car, Detective Mayer wrote.
Outside, as Mr. McGraw pointed the shotgun at Ms. Proviano, Mr. Brock took her money, according to the complaint.
Next, Mr. Brock told investigators, he "had turned away to get into the vehicle and he heard the shotgun go off," Detective Mayer wrote.
Mr. McGraw described largely the same scenario. He told detectives that after Mr. Brock got the money, "the shotgun had went off" while it was still pointed at her head, Detective Mayer wrote.
Mr. McGraw got into the front passenger seat with Mr. Brock and the two drove toward the South Side and threw Ms. Proviano's possessions off the Smithfield Street Bridge, according to the complaint.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Wilkinsburg police Chief Ophelia Coleman remembered Ms. Proviano, a former Carlow University student, as a "downright good citizen" who worked a job that many rely on, but which has its risks.
"It can be taking your life in your hands," she said.
Molly Born: email@example.com, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede. Alex Zimmerman contributed. First Published April 17, 2013 1:45 PM