Judge sets Feb. 3 jury trial for two alleged Pagans accused of assault, homicide attempt

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Jury selection in the case of two members of the Pagan Motorcycle Club who are charged with attempted homicide and aggravated assault is scheduled for Feb. 3 in Washington County Court.

Judge John DiSalle informed defendant Matthew Vasquez, 31, of Monessen, of the date via video conference Monday morning. Vasquez participated from Washington County jail while his new attorney, Stephen Colafella, and Deputy District Attorney Jason Walsh were present in the courtroom.

Walsh said Vasquez is to stand trial with Joseph Olinsky III, 46, of McKeesport.

Both men are charged with an April 18 brutal assault on Troy Harris at the bar of the Slovak Club, 700 McKean Ave., Charleroi.

Prosecutors have not revealed a motive in the assault, but Harris left the Pagans to join a rival group known as Sutars Soldiers.

Harris, a Fallowfield Township resident, suffered severe head trauma, causing him to have a stroke and cognitive problems, according to court testimony of his wife, Michele.

The judge acknowledged Vasquez had rejected an offer from the district attorney’s office to serve 7 to 14 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea to charges of aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Olinsky has a pre-trial hearing today before DiSalle, who will evaluate Olinsky’s request through his attorney, Ryan Tutera, to have his client’s attempted homicide charge dismissed.

Colafella is new to the case, having formally filed his appearance on Vasquez’s behalf a week earlier.

He requested a “contact visit” with his client after having a noncontact meeting.

Colafella, who is from Beaver County, said in some jurisdictions, contact visits between attorneys and their clients are routine, but in Washington County, a court order is required.

The judge granted Colafella’s request and Walsh had no objection.

Colafella said after the brief proceeding that not having to be hindered behind glass will allow him to show Vasquez documents and have him read along, “just like meeting in my office.”

Olinsky and Vasquez are the last two members of the Pagans to have their cases called for trial.

Five have already entered guilty pleas: Michael Thomas “Montana” Barringer, 50, of Morris Township, and John Albert Sadvary Jr., 39, of Penn Hills, were each sentence to 4 to 8 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault; Joshua Pagliei, 43, of Pleasant Hills, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, 3 to 6 years; and Corey Adam Volk, 24, of West Newton, aggravated assault and conspiracy, 7 to 14 years.

Brian Keruskin, 57, of Charleroi, pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 8 years in prison.

Paul A. Cochran, 54, of Charleroi, confessed to his involvement, but has not been sentenced.

Others not alleged to have been members of the motorcycle club were also charged. Charleroi Regional Police filed charges against most of the defendants.

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Barbara Miller
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observer-reporter.com




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