A school class hears the tape of Procopio’s interviews | Local News
A class of about 20 high school seniors in the Shenango area listened in court Thursday as Steven Procopio changed his story a few times in recorded interviews with police.
As the court resumed after lunch, taped interviews revealed that Procopio changed his story again and eventually admitted to police that he was at the scene of the shooting death of 31-year-old Nicole Pumphrey. his friend, Lawrence Cannon, 31, and his 10-year-old daughter, Amariah Emery.
The students attending the trial were part of Professor Mike Othites’ U.S. government/citizen law class of Shenango High.
Interviews with Procopio were conducted by New Castle police detectives and the Lawrence County District Attorney on October 16 and 17, the latter after his arrest in connection with the homicides.
At first, Procopio never wavered, insisting he wasn’t at Pumphrey’s the night of October 17, 2018.
Procopio, 21, formerly of Pulaski, is on trial this week for his reported role in the homicides – in the murder of infant Emery and as an accomplice to the murders of Pumphrey and Cannon. A jury of seven women, five men and two alternate women over two days listened to several hours of recorded interviews with Procopio.
District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa, who is prosecuting the case, said the jury had three hours left to play on Friday for the suspect’s questioning.
After that, the detective on the witness stand, New Castle Police Detective Branddon Hallowich, will be cross-examined by Procopio’s court-appointed defense attorney, John Bongivengo.
He plans to call an 11-year-old eyewitness, Emery’s younger sister, to the witness box on Monday, as well as the medical examiner who performed the autopsies.
Tapes of the interviews are being played in court, intercut with testimony from Hallowich, who asked some of the questions during the interviews, along with Lamancusa and other detectives, as part of the investigation.
During his testimony, Hallowich testified that at no time during Procopio’s interrogation did the suspect ever ask for the interview to be stopped, nor did he ever ask for lawyer.
During the first part of the tape that aired on Thursday, Procopio said, “I know for a fact I wasn’t there, even though someone said they saw me shooting them. I didn’t shoot them. I didn’t go to her (Pumphrey’s) house with anyone. I didn’t kill anyone. I know I didn’t. I’m really lost right now because I know I wasn’t there that day.
During questioning, when he admitted to being in the house with Cooper, he gave police a drawing showing where he and Cooper and the child were in the house at the time of the shooting.
Procopio is accused of killing 10-year-old Amariah Henry and being an accomplice to the murders of Cannon and Pumphrey.
The shooting took place on Oct. 17, 2018, at Pumphrey’s home at 319 North St. on the city’s West Side.
Cannon was reportedly sleeping on the couch during a visit to Pumphrey’s home when two intruders who knew her entered and allegedly shot Cannon cold. They then turned the gun on Pumphrey, 31, who was sitting next to Cannon, and shot her dead.
As they heard a noise in the stairwell, one of them – believed to be Procopio – saw Amariah Emery, 10, coming down the stairs holding a 14-month-old child, and shot him in the mouth and killed her, according to earlier reports and information released this week during the trial.
Emery is believed to have been one of five children in the household when the murders took place.
One of them, Amariah’s 7-year-old sister, came down the steps and allegedly witnessed the shooting and rescued the baby from Amariah’s arms.
Procopio faces two counts of criminal homicide and conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, in connection with the three deaths.
Anthony “Mook” Cooper, 23, formerly of Detroit, who went with Procopio to the Pumphrey home that night, said he pleaded guilty to two counts of homicide on Jan. 18 in the murders of Pumphrey and Cannon, and is sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years in state prison.