PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A judge has delivered a guilty verdict in the murder trial for a former armored truck guard accused of killing his co-worker and stealing millions of dollars.
Judge David Cashman found Kenneth Konias guilty of first-degree murder Tuesday afternoon.
During closing arguments earlier in the day, defense attorney Charles LoPresti told Judge Cashman that Kenneth Konias is not guilty of a premeditated murder with malice.
"His actions are inconsistent with a predetermined plan to execute a man so that he could steal money," LoPresti said. "He was a scared kid who made stupid decisions after he shot a human being in self-defense."
The defense argued that although detectives argued it was impossible for Michael Haines to have thrown a scanner and hit Konias in the back of the head as he was driving, prosecutors did not establish Haines' exact position in the truck.
The defense also argued the prosecution made no effort to enhance video of the truck stopping in the outer lot of the Home Depot in Ross where they say the shooting happened.
However, prosecutor Robert Schupansky disagreed.
"This is about selfishness, not self-defense," Schupansky said. "His idea of mourning Michael Haines' death was spending money on a Rolex watch, on strip clubs and call girls."
He also referred to Rivers Casino footage of Konias moving money toward the front of the armored car at 8:44 a.m. and said that is when Konias confirmed his plan for the day.
Haines' family released a statement following the verdict.
"We would like to thank the combined efforts of law enforcement and the justice system that has led to this end of such a difficult and tragic case," the statement said. "The people of Pittsburgh have been wonderfully supportive over the past 18 months. Both friends and strangers have reached out, and even supported Mike's Robert Morris University memorial scholarship, which we feel speaks to the outstanding character of our community."
Last week, the defense called on Rodney Shockey, a Garda driver. The defense called him only to establish that there were reports from crews weeks before the shooting that there were problems with the money scanner.
Konias told the FBI in Florida that Haines was frustrated that the scanner, discovered in its charger cradle next to the seat where Haines sat, wasn't working and threw it at Konias, which started a fight.
Listen to NewsRadio 1020's Report on the Konias Verdict:
Konias Verdict Report
Konias said he shot Haines in self-defense.
As the prosecution wrapped up its case, though, they showed the judge pictures taken inside the truck just after the body was removed, indicating that mail bins on the truck were not in disarray, contradicting Konias claims there was a struggle inside the truck.
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