Konias headed to trial on charges from fatal armored car heist

By Bobby Kerlik

Published: Friday, June 8, 2012, 11:58 a.m.
Updated 4 hours ago

Ken Konias Jr. paid a Florida taxi driver nearly $800,000 for false identification and arrangements to smuggle him to Haiti during his 55 days on the lam from murder and robbery charges in Pittsburgh, an FBI agent testified today.

During a preliminary hearing Downtown, authorities provided more details on how Konias spent some of the $2.3 million they say he took during a fatal armored car heist in February, and how he spent his time with pimps, hookers and drug users. Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli said all but $500,000 of the money has been recovered.

District Judge Mary Murray ordered Konias, 22, of Dravosburg to stand trial on charges of homicide, robbery and theft following the hearing in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.

Wearing a burgundy Allegheny County Jail top and red pants, Konias stared forward for most of the hearing and said nothing as FBI special agent Gerard Starkey told the judge details of his conversation with Konias after he was arrested April 24 in Pompano Beach, Fla. Police say he fled there after killing fellow Garda Cash Logistics guard Michael Haines on Feb. 28.

Konias’ parents attended the hearing but did not speak to reporters.

“There’s always two sides to every story. I, for the first time, got to hear what Mr. Konias told the FBI,” said Konias’ attorney, Charles LoPresti. ” I can’t dispute anything the FBI said, not having the benefit of reading any reports.”

Starkey said Konias told him he drove to Miami shortly after the heist but couldn’t find lodging so he ended up at hotel in Boca Raton where he met a cab driver who drove him around town, including millionaires row. Konias eventually paid him $700,000 to $800,000 for fake IDs, a rented home and arrangements to get to Haiti. Konias also paid a pimp $10,000 to rent another house in Pompano Beach and to have the pimp bring Konias prostitutes.

During the eight weeks Konias stayed in Pompano Beach, one prostitute stole $92,000 from him, Starkey testified.

“The pimp would arrange for women to be intimate with him. The pimp set him up in the house where he was captured,” Starkey testified.

Starkey also said Konias told him he killed Haines, 31, in self-defense, because Haines threw a hand-held money scanner at him, triggering a fight.

“He said he stopped the truck abruptly and some words were exchanged and Haines came at him,” Starkey said Konias told him. “This was outside the Home Depot near Ross Park Mall.”

Starkey said Konias told him that Haines grabbed him across the chest and they grappled and went to the floor. Haines then drew his gun and pointed it at Konias. Konias then kicked the gun away and shot Haines “in the back or head.” Tranquilli said Haines was shot in the back of the head.

“He made it sound as if it was quite a struggle in the truck,” Starkey said.

Pittsburgh police Detective J.R. Smith testified that the evidence inside the Garda van – nothing was overturned or disturbed and the handheld scanner was still attached to the wall and secured with a rubber band – did not back up Konias’ story.

LoPresti later countered that, saying, “Quite frankly a lot of different things could have happened post death to clean that area up.”

The van was recovered idling under the 31st Street Bridge and Haines’ body was found inside. Police believe Konias shot him in Ross as the two security guards made their rounds at local businesses.

Housemates of Konias told reporters shortly after his capture that he kept cash stored in a black duffel bag in the home and in a storage facility nearby and spent money on alcohol, drugs and strippers while staying in the one-story, white beach house


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