Garda Branch Manager Testifies In Armored Vehicle Heist Trial
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Testimony continues today in the murder trial of the former armored truck guard accused in the death of his co-worker and stealing millions.
Ken Konias, of Dravosburg, was arrested in Florida about two months after the Feb. 28, 2012 heist.
The trial had been scheduled to begin today, but was bumped up to Friday after Konias decided he wanted a judge, not a jury, to decide his fate.
On the stand today, Joshua Olivieri, the branch manager of Garda Security in the Strip District, testified that he was summoned by an employee to the Garda truck discovered underneath the 31st Street Bridge and he noticed “blood coming out of the truck.”
Eventually, he reviewed surveillance footage and saw the defendant running through the parking lot toward the car, and then the car leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.
The car, he says traveled so fast, it dipped a bit to the right as it made a turn.
Judge David Cashman viewed those surveillance pictures this morning.
Olivieri also noticed that victim, Michael Haines, did not have his weapon when his body was discovered, and noticed the Rivers Casino money picked up by that truck was missing, totaling $2.3 million.
FBI agent Tammie Kelley testified that she helped recover some of the money Konias had access to when he was arrested in Pompano Beach, Fla.
Some were packaged in amounts of $400,000. Others were in smaller amounts including $2,259 from a storage facility in Florida.
In all, she says she personally supervised the return of $1,174,069 to Pittsburgh from Florida.
In all, investigators say $2,323,252 was stolen from the Garda armored truck.
Prosecutors contend Konias fatally shot Haines before stealing the money from their Garda Cash Logistics vehicle, and is guilty of first-degree murder.
The first day of testimony focused on retracing Konias’ steps the day of the alleged murder and heist.
Konias claims he shot his co-worker in self-defense after they got into a fight.
Konias told the FBI agent in Florida who arrested him that the first place he went after leaving his dead partner in a Garda armored truck was his great grandmother’ grave at Munhall Cemetery.
He claims to have left $50,000 there. Investigators say they found $24,000 at his uncle’s house in West Mifflin that Konias’ father hid in his brother’s home unbeknownst to the brother.
The judge also saw evidence that Konias left $250,000 in a garbage bag under a car in his parents’ garage. The FBI says the parents first denied there was any money left in the house but later led police to that money.
Investigators also found a spent shell case in Konias’ Garda work jacket when they searched his home in Dravosburg and found three live rounds in a sofa nearby, as well as boxes of ammunition in the house.
Florida FBI agent Gerard Starkey testified that Konias told him after leaving money for his parents to find, he left $10,000 in a friend’s work boots then began his drive to Florida.
He was arrested based on a phone tip in Pompano Beach and still had his Garda identification in his wallet. He told the agent he shot Michael Haines after a struggle in which Haines pulled a gun on him. And he told the agent it was self defense “similar to the Treyvon Martin case.”