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November 10, 2012

Autopsy results awaited in fatal beating

EBENSBURG — The suspect accused of mortally wounding a Summerhill Township man in an assault Monday remains in the Cambria County Prison while prosecutors review autopsy results before deciding whether to file a criminal homicide charge.

The suspect, Gregory Conzo, 50, of 100 block of Sierra Street, also of Summerhill Township,  was arrested Monday by township police after fleeing the scene. Conzo was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related offenses and was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond.

The victim, 37-year-old Michael Pcola, died Wednesday at Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. An autopsy was performed Friday afternoon but investigators have yet to release the results.

“We’re waiting on lab results before we can release the cause and manner of death,” Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski said. “We’re hoping to have this wrapped up by Tuesday.”

Assistant District Attorney Tamara Bernstein said Friday that the autopsy report will be reviewed before any additional charges are filed against Conzo.

Police alleged that Conzo attacked Pcola with an aluminum bat shortly before 11 p.m. Monday at the victim’s residence, which also is in the 100 block of Sierra Street.

The victim had been upstairs at his residence and came downstairs after hearing a disturbance, police said.

According to a police affidavit, Conzo allegedly had been involved in a brief argument with Lois Pcola, his one-time girlfriend, and their daughter, Maria. Conzo allegedly hit Maria in the left arm with the bat and then swung again and hit Michael Pcola on the left side of his head. Michael Pcola was Lois Pcola’s son.

The mother began CPR on her son, and it was continued by township police Officer Michael Donald Wyar until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene.

Wyar said in the affidavit that Conzo admitted to swinging the bat and hitting both Michael Pcola and Maria Conzo.

The defendant had been scheduled for sentencing the morning after the incident, but that was delayed after his arrest on new charges. Prosecutors then filed a petition to revoke his bond in that case.

A detainer signed by Judge Patrick Kiniry directs that Conzo not be released from prison until a hearing is held on the bond revocation.

In that case, Conzo had pleaded guilty to simple assault in a domestic violence case. He was accused of hitting Lois Pcola, then his girlfriend, on May 30 at his residence. Township police said that she had a cut on her left check, but declined medical attention.

He initially was placed in the county jail in lieu of $10,000 bond. But that was reduced to recognizance bond on June 22 by Senior Judge F. Joseph Leahey, and Conzo was released from prison.

In the domestic violence case, the defendant was ordered to stay away from Lois Pcola.

According to court records, Conzo has two previous convictions in cases filed in 1998 – one for disorderly conduct/simple assault and the other for drunken driving.  In the DUI case, he was sentenced to two months of home confinement and 20 months of probation.

He was sentenced to an additional one year of probation in the other case.

The victim was a 1994 graduate of Forest Hills High School and served in the Marines from 1995 to 1999.  

He was studying for a degree in criminal justice at Penn Highlands Community College.

A funeral service will be held at 8 p.m. Sunday at Charles O. Dimond Funeral Home Inc., South Fork.

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