The attorney said Youngwood’s suspected murder was not murder

The attorney for a man accused of robbing and stabbing a man in his Youngwood home more than five years ago told a Westmoreland County jury Tuesday that his client not murder.

Prosecutor Ken Noga said that Michael J. Covington Jr. Youngwood, now 25, was an unwanted person on November 10, 2017, when he broke into the home of Matthew Genard, 50, and two other men. stealing money from the victim. .

Prosecutors allege that Covington stabbed Genard 22 times during the attack, and the men stole $1,100 in cash, clothes, marijuana , cocaine and a cell phone.

In his opening statement to the jury, Noga described Covington as a confused young man who was led astray by his older friends and someone who did not want to kill Genard.

“He told the Pennsylvania State Police that he couldn’t kill him and in the process of stabbing him he jumped. That’s when the other person took out that knife and did what he couldn’t do,” said Noga. “At the time of the crime, Michael Covington was 20 years old. He had no possessions except the clothes he wore. He was arrested a week later wearing clothes covered in Matthew Genard’s blood.”

Noga told jurors that they would convict Covington of a misdemeanor, but he said it was a lesser charge than the murder charge. facing him.

Prosecutors said Covington and his accomplices conspired to steal money from Genard and told jurors that evidence would convict him of first- and second-degree murder. the murderer. Such offenses are punishable by life imprisonment. Covington has also been charged with robbery and conspiracy.

Assistant District Attorney Pete Caravello said Covington confessed to his involvement in the murder during interviews with police a week after Genard’s body was found.

“In his own words, he described his plan to rob Matthew Genard and said he did it for the money,” Caravello said.

Covington’s case was scheduled for trial in 2020 but was delayed during the pandemic and due to changes in his representatives.

Christopher David, 45, of Youngwood — the man prosecutors say was the leader of the group — pleaded guilty in 2020 to third-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 35 to 70 years in prison.

Jason Sullenberger, 45, of Youngwood pleaded guilty to the same charges. He was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.

Police are also charging Linda Kay Quidetto, 43, of Sharon with murder, robbery and conspiracy based on claims she found a portion of drugs and money stolen from Genard. Quidetto died in 2020 by suicide in the county jail.

The testimony before Chief Justice Christopher Feliciani will continue on Wednesday.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Rich by email at rcholodofsky@triblive.com or Twitter .

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