Five face charges in attempted homicide

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MONESSEN – Monessen police have filed attempted homicide and related charges against five people in connection with an incident involving gunfire in the city Monday that investigators believed stemmed from the shooting death of a former Washington County man earlier that day.


Police had taken two of the suspects, Earl V. Pinkney, 18, of 617 Chestnut St., Monessen, and Samone Stepoli, 21, also of Monessen, into custody after questioning them late Tuesday afternoon, while Westmoreland County detectives and deputy sheriffs scoured the city, seizing evidence and looking for the other three involved in the case, investigators said.


A detective identified the other suspects as: Samone Stepoli’s brothers, Joshua Joseph Stepoli, 18, and Terrence James Stepoli, 20, both of 2060 Grand Ave., Monessen; and Antoine Hairston, 19, also of Monessen.


He said the five are not suspects in the slaying of Chris W. Fincik, 36, who was shot to death at 12:25 a.m. Monday at his 902 Maple Ave. residence in Monessen, Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth A. Bacha said. Fincik, formerly of Charleroi, Donora and Belle Vernon, was pronounced dead of gunshot wounds at 3:59 a.m. by Deputy Coroner Timothy O’Donnell. Rulings on the cause and manner of his death were pending the results of an autopsy, Bacha stated in a news release.


Then at 4:13 p.m. Monday, city police were summoned to Highland Manor for a report of gunshots being fired and spoke with Jaisen Irwin, the target of that alleged assault, court records show.


Irwin told police he was sitting on a ledge with Shep Womack outside the Elks Club near Knox Avenue when Samone Stepoli drove up in a blue car, possibly a Ford Taurus, with the other four suspects. He said Terrence Stepoli approached him and accused him of “running my mouth about being involved” in the Fincik death. The two reached out to shake hands, but Terrence Stepoli pulled away and attempted to slap Irwin in the face, police stated in the affidavit filed against Pinkney.


Irwin said he ran off as two other men stepped out of the vehicle and began to chase him, the affidavit indicates. At one point, Irwin stated, one of the men brandished a weapon and fired a shot. Irwin told police he heard a second shot fired after he ran inside 1001 Highland Manor.


The five suspects also face charges of attempted aggravated assault and conspiracy, court records show. Pinkney was remanded to Westmoreland County Prison on $100,000 bond set by District Judge Joseph A. Dalfonso in Monessen. Samone Stepoli also was remanded to the prison after being unable to post $10,000 bond, court records show.


Investigators returned to the Monessen police department Monday afternoon, saying they couldn’t find the other three suspects.


The Stepoli brothers were arrested April 11 by Charleroi Regional police on charges of possessing stolen firearms and carrying a firearm without a license. Terrence Stepoli, who also is identified in some court records as Terrance Stepoli, pleaded guilty in the case in October in Washington County Court and was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 60 days of electronic home monitoring. Joshua Stepoli pleaded guilty last month and received a sentence of 36 months of probation and 60 days of electronic home monitoring.


Meanwhile, Fincik has a record in the area for drug arrests, Westmoreland County Court records show. He also was awaiting trial in Washington County Court on charges of drug possession, tampering with evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct filed Oct. 1 by Roscoe, Elco, Stockdale and Allenport Regional police. He was living in Charleroi at the time of the arrest, court records indicate.


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