Confessed murderer from Coal Center dies in prison

  • By Scott Beveridge June 25, 2014
David Allen McClelland is escorted in October 2012 to Washington County Courthouse, where he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 92-year-old Evelyn Stepko. - Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A former Coal Center man who confessed to robbing and killing his 92-year-old neighbor has died in a state prison, where he was serving a life sentence in the case.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan Bensinger confirmed Wednesday that David A. McClelland, 59, died May 30 from natural causes in the State Correctional Institution-Greene, where he had been serving time with his son, David J., a co-conspirator.

The elder McClelland pleaded guilty Oct. 15, 2012, to stabbing to death Evelyn Stepko, who was known to hoard money, after he had repeatedly entered her house to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from her.

He stabbed Stepko repeatedly July 17, 2011, after he surprised her in her 1076 Pike St. home while she was wearing a bra with no shirt. There was a struggle before she fell to the bottom of the basement stairs.

The three McClellands spent the widow’s money lavishly on real estate, firearms, vehicles and tools and even used it to gamble at a casino in North Strabane Township. David A. McClelland, who suffered from heart and seizure problems when he pleaded guilty, had no other income than Social Security disability.

His son, a former police officer in the Mon Valley, and wife, Diane McClelland, 51, were found guilty as co-conspirators in 2013 in separate jury trials in Washington County Court.

David J. McClelland, 29, is serving a life sentence. His stepmother is serving a 24 1/2- to 49-year sentence at SCI-Cambridge Springs, state prison records 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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