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PA Armored Car Heist Suspect Busted In Pompano Ordered To Stand Trial

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Kenneth Konias (Source: Broward Sheriff's Office)

Kenneth Konias (Source: Broward Sheriff’s Office)

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South Florida Crime

PITTSBURGH (CBSMiami/AP) — An armored car guard who helped steal $2.3 from his truck before he allegedly killed his partner and fled to Pompano Beach, where he was arrested in April, has been ordered to stand trial on the charges against him.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Tranquilli said after Friday’s preliminary hearing for Kenneth Konias Jr. that evidence inside the Garda Cash Logistics truck doesn’t support Konias’ claim that fellow guard Michael Haines, 31, attacked and fought with Konias before the Feb. 28 shooting, leading to Konias to claim he killed in self defense.

“I think it’s pretty clear from the scene itself what went on here,” Tranquilli said. Prosecutors contend Konias shot the unsuspecting Haines once in the back of the head, before looting the truck, leaving it under a bridge, and driving to Florida, where Konias was arrested by FBI agents and others on April 24.

Pittsburgh District Judge Mary Murray ordered Konias to stand trial on charges of criminal homicide, robbery and theft after hearing from two witnesses, FBI Special Agent Gerard Starkey, who interviewed Konias for hours after his arrest in Pompano Beach, and Pittsburgh homicide Detective James Smith. Konias faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder, though prosecutors haven’t decided whether they might also pursue the death penalty.

Konias was arrested in a Pompano Beach house rented for him by a man he described to authorities as a “pimp” who also supplied Konias with prostitutes. Investigators have said someone tipped them off to Konias’ whereabouts.

Starkey said Konias turned over more than $1 million hidden in a storage space a block away and before detailing where some of the other money had been stashed or spent. But Starkey said Konias was evasive about exactly what led to Haines’ shooting except to say “that it was a self-defense issue.”

Starkey said Konias picked up his vehicle at Garda headquarters, then returned to off-load money from the truck. After stealing a license plate from a car in a mall parking lot, Konias drove to the home he shared with his parents to shower and change, then stopped for gas before driving to Florida.

Konias told Starkey he also stopped at his grandmother’s grave, near his home, where he prayed and left $50,000 for his parents to find, along with another $100,000 to $200,000 at their home, plus another $10,000 in some work boots at a friend’s home.

Konias befriended a cab driver in Florida who helped him obtain fake IDs and who Konias believed would help him escape to Haiti after giving that man $700,000 to $800,000. A prostitute also allegedly stole $92,000 from Konias at one point.

Tranquilli said FBI agents in Florida and Pittsburgh are still tracing the money and that all but about $500,000 has been recovered — including all the money Konias left in Pennsylvania. He refused to identify the cab driver or others involved in Konias’ Florida odyssey, or to say whether they may, too, face charges.

Konias didn’t comment during the hearing or as he was led back to the county jail.

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