GREENSBURG (KDKA) – The man accused of robbing and beating an elderly woman during home invasion in Westmoreland County has been found guilty on all counts.
Gregory Howard, 47, of Monessen, was convicted Thursday evening by a jury on charges stemming from the violent home invasion last fall in Rostraver.
Howard did not say anything after the verdict was handed down.
He represented himself during the three-day trial; however, when asked by the judge after the conviction if he wanted a lawyer to help in his appeal of the verdict, he said “yes.”
Howard was one of three men arrested following the October 2014 home invasion-robbery.
The then-91-year-old victim was robbed and roughed up by the three suspects who pretended to be furniture delivery men. The trio made off with cash and jewelry.
In the hushed courtroom when the verdict was read was the victim, Frances Tekavec. She remains in a wheelchair after suffering a fractured vertebra in her neck when she was shoved to the floor in the robbery.
Tekavec told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “He [Howard] deserves everything he’s getting.”
Tekavec said she was glad the trial was over, because she’s tired and hurting, adding that she’s recovering slowly and “may never heal.”
Howard’s decision to represent himself during the trial led to some interesting and theatrical moments in court.
Day 3 of the proceedings saw the prosecution call 36-year-old Lamont Dixon to the stand. Dixon is one of the other suspects charged in the robbery.
When questioned by the prosecution, Dixon said Howard planned the crime from the beginning. But when Howard cross-examined Dixon, some sparks flew.
When asked by Howard about details of a discussion Dixon had with his girlfriend, Dixon said, “I don’t exactly recall.”
Howard, laughing and spreading his arms said, “Oh you can recollect with the D.A., but you can’t recollect with me now, huh?”
Another exchange saw Howard ask how Dixon knew to walk along the tree line at the victim’s house to not be detected.
Howard: “How did you know where to go once you got to the house?”
Dixon: “’Cause I’m smarter than a fifth grader.”
That was followed up by Howard saying Dixon’s story has inconsistencies. Dixon said, “If you (Howard) weren’t there, how can you know about my inconsistencies.”
Howard mumbled something loudly at which time Dixon said, “He’s as thick as a brick, your honor.”
Howard put on a short and often disjointed defense with four inmates testifying. Howard’s co-defendants all got deals to testify against him.
Judge Rita Hathaway immediately began closing arguments after testimony wrapped up.
Howard addressed the jury first. His plea for an acquittal included his reason for self-representation. He said, “I represented myself because a man who doesn’t stand for something will fall for anything.”
He referenced the founding fathers saying they were great men who created the Constitution and enacted laws. He called the prosecution’s case fabricated bits and pieces. At times yelling, Howard painted himself as an undaunted crusader and even misquoting a ‘70 pop song.
The remaining two suspects in the case have yet to go on trial. No sentencing date was immediately set for Howard.