PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — New details have emerged in the murder of Samuel Rende, including possible motives and bizarre details about the suspect himself.
90-year-old Samuel Rende succumbed to his injuries after being shot in the head by 27-year-old Anthony Miller yesterday. He died at 12:59 p.m. at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Medics transported him there from his pickup truck after having been found in critical condition.
His friend Anthony Antario couldn’t believe the news of his friend’s death. The two of them became friends when their children attended school together.
“He was always good to me and the kids,” he told KDKA. “To a lot of people, he was well-liked.”
Rende was sitting his black Dodge Ram pickup in the passenger seat in Pittsburgh’s Greenfield neighborhood. The car was stopped at the intersection of Hazelwood Avenue and Bray Street, in front of the entrance to Calvary Cemetary. Miller shot Rende through the driver’s window multiple times, hitting the 90-year-old at least one time in the head. No one else was inside the vehicle.
A witness heard shots being fired and saw Miller walk away from the truck with a gun in his hand, dressed in a dark green hoodie and walking a black dog. Officers also noticed Miller leaving Hazelwood Greenway, a wooded area that leads to Calvary Cemetary on Pauley Ave.
Officers arrested Miller on the 400 block of Mansion Street. Miller’s .40 caliber Smith and Wesson M&P pistol was sticking out of his sweatshirt pocket, handle out. Officers also found Rende’s gold wedding ring with dried bloodstains on the inside of the ring. Miller had stowed the ring in one of his socks.
The witness positively identified Anthony Miller as the person they saw leave the scene and go into the cemetery.
Antario could not figure out why someone would want to shoot and kill his friend. He said Rende would also go the extra mile for his friends.
“Whether it was a hat to cover your bald or thinning hairline or something of nature, he would always try to go that extra distance,” he said.
Miller confessed to shooting Rende with his pistol and robbing Rende’s ring and wristwatch. Miller reportedly threw the wristwatch somewhere in the woods. The gun also did not belong to Miller, as he had stolen it from a vehicle in the Pittsburgh area earlier this week. The firearm, however, was not reported as stolen, but Miller is not licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Miller was previously found guilty of two charges of theft. He is being charged with criminal homicide, robbery, theft from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and carrying a firearm without a license. Police are also charging him on another count related to gun ownership, saying that Miller violated the law because he is not a person to possess a firearm.
Miller and Rende reportedly had known each other before the murder.
According to court records, Miller is currently in the Allegheny County Jail and had his bond denied. He has a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 3.