Updated: 2:51 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 | Posted: 5:25 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014

Vet charged in robbery-slaying claims he has PTSD

KENNEDY TOWNSHIP, Pa. —

Police have charged a man in connection to the shooting death of another man last month in Kennedy Township.

Michael Lapaglia, 22, kept his head down as officers took him to jail on criminal homicide charges Tuesday.

Lapaglia allegedly shot his aunt's fiancé, John Parkes, 59, in the head after robbing Parkes inside his Kennedy Township home.

He told Channel 11 News he's a war veteran who served in Afghanistan and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Yes I do (have PTSD),” Lapaglia said.

Investigators confirm that Lapaglia served in Afghanistan for several months.

Parkes' murder was considered a whodunit until police said they found out Lapaglia tried to sell Parkes and Carol Lapaglia's stolen jewelry to a pawn shop.

Carol Lapaglia, Michael Lapaglia's aunt, left the Poplar Street home she shared with her fiancé, John Parkes, about 11 a.m. on July 21, and returned about four hours later to find John Parkes dead of gunshot wounds to the head and neck, police said.

In the criminal complaint filed against Michael Lapaglia, police described the home as “ransacked,” and said missing jewelry included a man's horseshoe-shaped ring with diamonds and sapphires, a gold football pendant, a gold shamrock pendant, two wrist watches, coins and other items.

Detectives visited a Sharpsburg pawn shop a short walk away from Michael Lapaglia's home. There they learned from an employee that a man tried to sell jewelry on July 21 and that he was suspicious because he thought the man had sold stolen jewelry to him before, the complaint said. The employee took a photo of the jewelry and told the man to come back the next day, but he did not return.

Carol Lapaglia began crying when detectives showed her the photo of the jewelry, and said several of the items belonged to her, John Parkes or her mother.

A Pittsburgh police burglary detective contacted county police Monday when she received a transaction report from a city jewelry store that showed Michael Lapaglia sold gold scrap jewelry and coins on July 22 for $1,087, the complaint said.

County police contacted the jewelry store and learned that the items were stored at Pittsburgh Gold Store on Liberty Avenue, Downtown. An employee there showed police heavily damaged jewelry that detectives wrote could still be identified as the jewelry stolen from Parkes. A store security video from July 22 shows Michael Lapaglia selling jewelry and gold coins from a purple cloth bag, the complaint said.

Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.

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