PITTSBURGH — A former armored car guard was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison plus 10 to 20 years for killing his partner and robbing their truck of $2.3 million, but not before he asked the judge not to "lecture" him.
Kenneth Konias Jr.'s comments drew an audible gasp from the friends, relatives and co-workers of his victim, fellow Garda Cash Logistics guard Michael Haines.
Konias, 24, of Dravosburg, Penn., initially told Allegheny County Judge David Cashman he had no comments to make before sentencing. Cashman then reviewed the evidence and ridiculed Konias' trial claims that he had shot Haines in self-defense.
The judge said that Konias plotted for months to steal the money — likely to impress a girl he wanted to date — and killed Haines during their Feb. 28, 2012, route because the other guard was all that stood between Konias and the small fortune.
"It became abundantly clear that Michael Haines was a dead man when he walked into the truck" that day, Cashman said.
"Your honor, may I?" Konias interrupted.
Despite being told "no" by Cashman, Konias continued:
"I was going to suggest that you not lecture me and that you can give me this sentence so we can all proceed."
Cashman resumed by telling Konias that, "You've already been shown mercy by the Haines family, by not requesting the death penalty. Consider yourself fortunate that you will not be on death row."
District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. opted not to pursue the death penalty after consulting with Haines' family.
Konias eluded capture for nearly two months before he was arrested in Pompano Beach, Fla., after a prostitute tipped off police.
Federal and local authorities determined Konias used the money to flee Pittsburgh and entertain strippers and prostitutes.
Authorities recovered about $1.3 million of the stolen money and believe Konias spent the rest, including some given to a Florida cab driver who Konias believed could help him escape to Haiti.
Pittsburgh Police via AP
This combo made from undated photos provided by the Pittsburgh police shows Garda Cash Logistics armored car guards Kenneth Konias Jr., 22, of Dravosburg, Pa., left, and his partner, Michael Haines, of East McKeesport.
— Associated Press
First published February 18 2014, 1:57 PM