Decision to try Konias in state or federal court not yet made
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Law enforcement officials have still not decided if the man accused of killing a fellow armored car employee and stealing $2.3 million in cash will be tried in state or federal court.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said he spoke Wednesday with U.S. Attorney David Hickton.
"Whichever way it goes, either our guys will go with the feds or the feds can come with us," he said. "Both systems would support maximum penalties."
Mr. Zappala said he could seek the death penalty against Kenneth Konias because there is at least one aggravating factor -- that Michael Haines was killed during the commission of a robbery.
Mr. Haines was killed Feb. 28 when he and Mr. Konias, who worked for Garda Cash Logistics, were returning from picking up cash deposits from a number of local stores. The abandoned truck was found parked on 31st Street that afternoon with blood dripping out.
Law enforcement officials identified Mr. Konias quickly as a suspect in the case and led a nation-wide manhunt. He was arrested early Tuesday at a home in Pompano Beach, Fla.
"I have to talk to the Haines family, and they have to understand what the death penalty entails," he said. "I think the community is better served by this guy disappearing as quickly as he can."
A death penalty case would likely take at least 18 months. Mr. Zappala said if the maximum penalty sought is life in prison without parole the case could end in about six months.
Detectives from the Pittsburgh police department headed to Florida on Wednesday and will work to retrace Mr. Konias' steps over the past eight weeks.
In a statement he provided to investigators in Florida, Mr. Konias said he shot Mr. Haines in self-defense when he objected to the attempted robbery. Forensics show that Mr. Haines was shot in the back of the head.
"It doesn't appear to be consistent with the physical evidence," Mr. Zappala said of Mr. Konias' statement. "He was basically executed."
Police so far have recovered about $1.4 million of the $2.3 million stole and are still trying to track down the rest.
The FBI in Florida is attempting to work backward to trace Mr. Konias' steps since leaving Pittsburgh.
"When you've got $2.3 million, you can move anywhere you want," Mr. Zappala said. "That was one of the problems with the case. The money wasn't traceable."
First Published April 26, 2012 7:11 pm