Jury could begin deliberating case against woman linked to deadly robbery

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. —

Jury deliberations could begin Friday in the murder conspiracy trial of a woman whose husband has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to life in prison for robbing and murdering his 92-year-old Washington County neighbor.

Diane McClelland, 50, is charged with conspiring with her husband, 57-year-old David Allen McClelland, and stepson, 37-year-old David James McClelland, in the robbery and death of Evelyn Stepko.

The elder David McClelland pleaded guilty in October to stabbing Stepko on July 17, 2011, after stealing more than $215,000 in cash from the widow, who had kept the cash in her Coal Center home, over a two-year span. He is serving life in prison.

Washington County prosecutors said McClelland's wife and son -- a former police officer who will be tried later this year -- knew about the stolen money and helped plan Stepko's murder.

On the first day of Diane McClelland's trial on Tuesday, jurors heard about Stepko's injuries and how she may have fought back.

Police also said Stepko reached out for help over the years and reported thefts. However, California Police Chief Rich Encapera said there wasn't enough evidence at the time.

"When I found out we were able to conclude the actor was in fact Mr. McClelland, I was absolutely devastated," Encapera said.

A state trooper testified Tuesday that police found at least $82,000 in cash still inside Stepko's home after she was murdered.