Monessen shooting death ruled homicide

  • By Scott Beveridge December 6, 2012
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T. Stepoli
Image description
J. Stepoli

MONESSEN – Westmoreland County homicide detectives returned Thursday to Monessen as investigators continued to interview people about the slaying of a former Washington County man at his residence.

Monessen police Chief Mark Gibson said he would not discuss the case until an arrest is made in the death of Chris “Snax” Fincik, 36, formerly of Charleroi, other than to say Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth A. Bacha had ruled it a homicide.

City police were summoned to Highland Manor to investigate shots being fired there about 12:30 a.m. Monday. While en route, police saw a man running toward 10th Street and a white vehicle pulling away from Fincik’s apartment at 902 Maple Ave., the affidavit accompanying a warrant to search the residence indicates.

Police followed the vehicle to Locust Street, where the driver, Rachel Manges, got out and advised police to go back to the residence because Fincik had been shot, the court record shows.

Manges told police she had been at the residence earlier and left to go to a service station in Monessen. When she returned to the residence, she noticed a person walking down a grassy hill behind the apartment before being let inside the back door by Fincik, police stated in the affidavit.

After letting her inside, Fincik held the door closed with both of his hands. Manges told police she heard gunshots and dove to the floor for cover. She said she noticed Fincik was bleeding from the chest before he stumbled into the living room and fell onto the floor near the stairs to the second floor. Manges then left the residence.

When police went to the front door, they could not enter because Fincik’s body was blocking it. Police entered through the back door after noticing he was not breathing and found money and suspected white powder drugs in a bag on the kitchen table, the record indicates.

Meanwhile, two Monessen brothers have been taken into custody in an attempted homicide case city police believe is related to the shooting death Monday.

Joshua Joseph Stepoli, 18, and Terrance James Stepoli, 20, both of 2060 Grand Ave., are in Westmoreland County Prison on $100,000 bonds following their arrests Wednesday in an attempted shooting of Jaisen Irwin, also of Monessen, court records show.

In all, five people are facing charges in the case, with one of them, Antoine Hairston, 19, of Monessen, still at large. Samone Stepoli, 21, of Monessen, is free on $10,000 bond, while Earl V. Pinkney, 18, also of Monessen, is in the prison on $100,000 bond set Tuesday by District Judge Joseph Dalfonso.

Irwin told city police he was shot at and chased by two of the suspects about 4:15 p.m. after Terrance Stepoli accused him of bragging about having an involvement in the killing of Fincik.

All five suspects in the incident on Knox Avenue involving Irwin face charges of attempted homicide, attempted aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy, the criminal complaints show.

Scott Beveridge has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1986 after previously working at the Daily Herald in Monongahela. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s fine arts and art education programs and Duquesne University’s master of liberal arts program. He is a 2004 World Affairs journalism fellow.


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