CALIFORNIA (KDKA) — The people of Coal Center and California Borough gathered at Rotary Park for a candlelight vigil in honor of Evelyn Stepko who died last week.
It’s one way they hope they can cope with her death.
“I knew her. I was her mail lady for 11 years,” JoAnne Harris, a vigil organizer, said. “My memories of her are whenever she’d come out and get the mail, just kind of ask how I was doing and we’d have small conversation and her walking up the hill and catching her bus in front of my house.”
Harris and Shelly Wilson, another organizer, asked people attending the vigil to wear white and to bring candles.
“I just think this is a great town. It’s a great town for our kids to grow up in. It’s a safe town,” Wilson said. “And I just think it’s important for us to come together and show the young kids – you know – we’re gonna stand together. When something bad happens, we’re gonna stick together.”
The community was shocked by not only the murder of 92-year-old Stepko in her home, but the arrest of neighbor David A. McClelland who spoke to KDKA-TV’s Harold Hayes last week.
“It’s disgusting to hear that someone had stabbed her,” he said. “It was like somebody stabbed me.”
Among the allegations in the criminal complaint, he and his son, a policeman in Fayette County who lived just behind the victim’s house, systematically stole cash from her and sometimes gambled with it.
Just five days after a burglary at the home, police say the older McClelland wagered $6,500 at the Meadows. The son wagered $3,400 and the elder McClelland’s wife, Diane, wagered $2,700.
But so far, she has not been charged in this case.