WASHINGTON, Pa. - A former police officer accused of helping to plan the killing of an elderly Coal Center woman has been convicted of second-degree murder.
Jurors in Washington County deliberated for less than two hours Tuesday before convicting 37-year-old David James McClelland in the death of 92-year-old Evelyn Stepko.
His attorney vowed to appeal the verdict, which carries a mandatory life term.
Defense attorney Josh Camson said in closing arguments that his client was only guilty of receiving stolen property.
“He's not guilty of conspiracy. He's not guilty of murder. He's not guilty in dealing with the proceeds on unlawful activity. He's guilty of receiving stolen property, but the commonwealth wants to punish him more than that,” Camson said.
McClelland testified in his own defense Monday that he accepted and spent money his father stole from Stepko, but he didn't conspire to kill her.
His father, David Allan McClelland, pleaded guilty earlier to robbing and killing Stepko in her Coal Center home in July 2011, and stepmother Diane McClelland was convicted of conspiracy.
Prosecutors said the father stole about $215,000 over a two-year span, and other relatives helped spend the money.
McClelland Jr. told police in a recorded interview that his father deserves the death penalty.
"He should get the punishment that deserves the crime. He should get the death penalty," said McClelland. "Absolutely, that's hard to say."