NEW CASTLE 2 face charges in New Year's Day killing of man



One man was arrested shortly after the shooting and the other a few hours later.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- An argument that spilled out into the street left a city man dead New Year's Day.
Authorities say Torrence Respress, 33, of Moody Avenue, died at 1:25 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, where he was taken for treatment.
Officers discovered Respress about 10:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 100 block of Boyles Avenue with gunshot wounds to his head and legs.
Two men accused in the shooting were still in the Lawrence County Jail this morning.
Willie Smith, 63, of Stein Road, Butler, Pa., is charged with criminal homicide and a firearms violation. He is being held without monetary bond.
Michael Malnar, 30, of Columbia Street, New York City, is charged with aggravated assault and a firearms violation and was being held in jail late this morning after failing to pay $100,000 bond.
Started as an argument
The shooting occurred after an argument in a Boyles Avenue home spilled out into the street, said Matthew Mangino, Lawrence County district attorney. Mangino, however, would not say what prompted the argument.
The district attorney said that Malnar allegedly shot Respress in the legs just outside the Boyles Avenue home. Respress was able to make it across the street and was then shot in the head by Smith, Mangino said.
Police arrested Smith on Boyles Avenue shortly after being called, and Malnar was arrested a few hours later at a Highland Avenue home, Mangino said.
"It was through a good response and good investigation that we are able to arrest and charge these people so quickly," said Police Chief Victor Cubellis.
Both men were arraigned before District Justice Samuel Battaglia in Ellwood City. Preliminary hearing dates had not been set as of late this morning.
Mangino said an autopsy on Respress was planned sometime late today in Mahoning County.
The city's last fatal shooting was Dec. 15, 2001.
cioffi@vindy.com

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