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First of 3 murder trials set for August in botched Latrobe robbery

July 24, 2018

The first trial for three men charged in connection with a 2016 shooting death of a Latrobe man is scheduled for next month.

Austin Krinock, 20, of Johnstown, is charged with second-degree and third-degree murder for his involvement in a botched robbery that ended in the death of 20-year-old Daniel McNerny.

Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio on Monday scheduled jury selection in Krinock’s case to begin Aug. 13.

Police contend he was one of three men who planned the robbery of two drug dealers in Latrobe on Jan. 16, 2016.

McNerny, according to the prosecution, was not the target of the drug heist and unaware of the robbery plot as he attempted to intervene in a confrontation outside the home when he was shot by a masked man who he attempted to disarm.

Police said the shooter was Zachary McGrath, 23, of Latrobe.

McGrath was charged with first-degree murder. His trial was originally scheduled to begin before Bilik-DeFazio in August but a scheduling conflict led to a postponement until January.

Krinock, who was 17 at the time of the incident, is accused of helping plan the robbery and attempting to hide evidence after the shooting.

The judge previously ruled against a defense request to transfer Krinock’s case to juvenile court.

A third man, Colin Gearhart, 20, of Latrobe, is also charged with second and third-degree murder. His trial has not been scheduled.

Lawyers for Krinock and Gearhart said they believed Krinock was considering cooperating with the prosecution.

Gearhart’s lawyer Michael DeMatt said Monday his client has not yet agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

“At this point we are in discussions for a possible resolution to the case,” DeMatt said.

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