2 charged with killing Monessen man during botched robbery

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Westmoreland County investigators charged two teenagers with homicide after one confessed to being present during a botched robbery that left one man dead, and another confessed to buying ammunition that matched shell casings collected from the crime scene, according to court documents.

Earl Pinkney, 19, of Monessen and Chalsee Hughes, 19, of Duquesne were both charged on Thursday with homicide, robbery and conspiracy in connection with the death of Chris "Snax" Fincik, 36, who was killed inside his home on Maple Avenue in Monessen earlier this month. Both are being held in the Westmoreland County Prison without bail.

County detectives and Monessen police, who were called to Fincik's home shortly after midnight on Dec. 3, found him lying by the front door with three gunshot wounds. Nearby were three expended cartridges.

Investigators received hints later that day that Mr. Pinkney and his associates might be connected to Fincik's death when a man named Jason Irwin told them Mr. Pinkney and four other Monessen men -- Antoine Hairston, 19, Terrence Stepoli, 20, Samone Stepoli, 21, and Joshua Stepoli, 18 -- confronted him outside the Elks Lodge on Knox Avenue and accused him of telling people they were involved in Fincik's death, according to a complaint. Police charged all five men with attempted homicide and attempted aggravated assault for the incident involving Mr. Irwin.

When investigators went to arrest Mr. Pinkney, Ms. Hughes told them she had been at his house on Chestnut Street for the weekend. In another interview, she told them that on the day before Fincik's shooting, she took Joshua Stepoli and Mr. Hairston to a Walmart, where she provided her identification so Joshua Stepoli could buy the ammunition, which had the same measurements as the cartridges collected from the crime scene.

"[Ms. Hughes] also stated that she knows that Earl Pinkney, Antoine Hairston and Josh Stepoli have robbed people in the past but it never happened in Monessen," according to the complaint.

Investigators wrote that Ms. Hughes confronted Mr. Pinkney about Fincik's death and he told her that he, Mr. Hairston and Joshua Stepoli went to rob Fincik and "it was not supposed to go that way." They also wrote that Mr. Pinkney began talking to them about what he wanted if he provided them with information about Fincik's death and "without being questioned said, 'I was there with Antoine and Josh. I was so high I didn't know where I was at. Josh did the shooting. I heard the shots and ran home.'"

Mr. Pinkney and Ms. Hughes are the only people who have been charged with Fincik's death. Both are scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Correction (posted Feb. 26, 2015): An earlier version of this story had an incorrect age for Fincik.

neigh_westmoreland - crime

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. Moriah Balingit contributed.


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