GREENSBURG, Pa. — Victor Steban, 53, was arrested and charged with killing a couple in Westmoreland County. He is also facing charges across several other municipalities after shooting up homes and trying to kill the former national head of the Pagans Motorcycle Club. Steban was also considered a person of interest in a car bombing.
He was lodged into the Westmoreland County jail without bond in connection to the crime spree.
Here is a timeline of events:
Saturday, May 15
An overnight blast rocked North Huntingdon Township after officials said an explosive device was used to destroy a car. Investigators said it happened shortly before midnight in the 1100 block of Clay Pike.
The explosive device was placed under the hood of the car while it was parked on the side of the road. The blast could be heard up to a mile away.
Steban is considered a person of interest in the incident.
About 45 minutes before the explosion, police found weapons inside Steban’s home after responding for a fire in North Huntingdon. Court documents said he told ATF agents he “lit the fire to destroy evidence of the plan that he had put in place that evening.” He said he poured rubbing alcohol on a pile of wood, lit a napkin on fire and then tossed it onto the wood.
Local police, state police and the ATF are helping the investigation.
Sunday, May 16
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, court documents said Steban drove to a home in Sewickley Township where he fired rounds from an AK-47 and an AR-15. He told investigators he was sending a message to a woman he believed had broken up his current relationship with his girlfriend.
About five minutes later, police said he drove to another home and fired at least a dozen rounds. He also lit a road flare and “tried to burn” a man out. He said he had containers of napalm he was preparing to toss into the home as well.
Just before 1 a.m., detectives said he drove to the home of Dennis “Rooster” Katona, the former head of the Pagans Motorcycle Club. Steban is accused of shooting at least 18 times using an AR-15, telling investigators he went there with the intention to kill.
Monday, May 17
Around 8 a.m. Monday, police were called about two people found dead in a driveway with a large amount of blood in Penn Township. Officers found 27-year-old Mara Casale near a side porch and 41-year-old Jacob Erdeljac near a motorcycle. Both had been shot in the head.
A back door of the home appeared to have been forced open. Once inside, officers found items had been ruffled through and drawers were open.
Authorities said Steban was waiting to ambush the couple after a motorcycle ride before he shot them. He admitted to investigators he walked up to the house with his rifle and shot Casale first. He then said he shot Erdeljac off his motorcycle before shooting him again, killing him.
Steban told police had a past issue with Erdeljac.
He then said he went into the home to find keys to get away. He found keys in a red truck parked in the driveway and sped off. An alert was issued for the red 2005 Toyota Tacoma before it was found hours later.
An alert was also issued for Steban along with a $5,000 reward.
Tuesday, May 18
Witnesses called police and sent Channel 11 video of Steban marching down the side of Route 30 in Irwin in the early afternoon. Dozens of officers descended on the area near Route 30 and Thompson Lane, following him with long rifles and guns drawn.
He was arrested a short time later.
During a news conference Tuesday night, police said they were able to identify the weapon and connect it to multiple crime scenes.
While Steban was being led to and from his arraignment, he told reporters his actions were “all about getting Rooster.”
Wednesday, May 19
Mara Casale, the woman Steban reportedly killed, was being remembered as a friend, daughter, sister and aunt.
Her best friend, Sara Wally, called the news “devastating.”
“It just breaks my heart that I’ll never get to talk to my best friend again,” Wally said.
The wife of Dennis “Rooster” Katona told our partners at TribLive.com that they don’t know Steban and have no idea why he would try to kill them. She said they have never met him and have no link to the man.
Thursday, May 20
Officials charged Steban with more charges related to trying to kill Katona and shooting the other homes.
He appeared before a judge on arson charges in connection with setting his home on fire to destroy evidence.
Cox Media Group