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Victim’s Family Devastated After Fatal Donegal Stabbing

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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DONEGAL (KDKA) — Investigators released new details Friday about the murder of a man in Westmoreland County.

Earl Weygandt, 67, was stabbed nine times in the parking lot of TJ’s Restaurant in Donegal.

Police have charged 40-year-old Michael Martin with first-degree murder.

Martin is married to Weygandt’s stepdaughter through his second marriage.

“I’ve never met him. I don’t know anything about him,” said Shelly Pelzer, Weygandt’s daughter. “I just don’t know what he would get out of it, you know, or why.”

Police say Martin lured Weygandt to Sarnelli’s Market Wednesday evening saying that his car was broken down and he needed a ride.

The two men pulled over moments later at TJ’s Restaurant, where the alleged murder happened.

“While they were pulled over some type of activity, engagement ensued between the two and during that activity, Michael Martin stabbed our victim, Earl Weygandt, nine times, three of them in the throat area, severing both jugulars and his esophagus,” said Trooper Steve Limani, of Pennsylvania State Police.

Police say Martin fled back to Sarnelli’s and took off in his supposedly broken down car.

Martin claims he acted in self-defense after Weygandt pulled a gun on him.

Police wouldn’t comment on why Weygandt’s gun was found on the passenger seat, but say this was clearly a premeditated murder.

Police are asking anyone who may have seen Martin fleeing from TJ’s back to Sarnelli’s on Wednesday night to give them a call at the Greensburg barracks.

Meanwhile, family members say Weygandt was proud to have served his country. And his absence is already being felt by all who loved him.

“I kind of want to call him, and he’s just not there,” said Pelzer.

But Pelzer did talk to her father on the phone just hours before his murder. She says he couldn’t wait to visit his first granddaughter, Madison, who was born just three weeks ago on Weygandt’s 67th birthday.

“I told him I loved him like I always do,” Pelzer said. “Him not getting to know her and her not getting to know him, I’m having a really hard time with it.”

Martin is being held in the Westmoreland County Jail without bond.

RELATED LINKS:
Body Found In Vehicle Along Route 31 In Donegal; State Police Arrest Son-In-Law (8/8/13)
Motive Uncertain In Man’s Stabbing Death (8/9/13)
More Reports by Trina Orlando

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