Judge won’t dismiss murder charges against Pa. man

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PITTSBURGH – A federal judge who ordered the release of a man convicted of a double murder more than 3½ decades ago has refused to formally dismiss the state charges against him.


U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan said Friday she “lacks the authority” to dismiss the charges against 60-year-old David Munchinski in the 1977 slayings of 24-year-old James Alford and 28-year-old Raymond Gierke in Bear Rocks, Fayette County.


A federal magistrate in 2011 reversed Munchinski’s conviction, saying former prosecutors withheld evidence during past trials.


Defense attorney Noah Geary told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he will seek a dismissal in state court. Deputy Attorney General Gregory Simatic argued the matter was moot because Munchinski has been released.


The former Latrobe resident now lives near Tampa, Fla., near his daughter.


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