Bond set at $500K for suspect in Struthers shooting death
By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Bond was set at $500,000 for the man accused of fatally shooting 34-year-old Matthew Molnar in their 145 Renee Drive home early Thursday.
Matthew Alexander, 26, is a flight risk, said Detective Jeff Lewis of the Struthers Police Department.
That’s why the high bond, set during Alexander’s Friday morning arraignment in Judge James Dunn’s courtroom in Struthers Municipal Court, remained in spite of an attorney’s request otherwise.
Alexander is charged with murder. He was found to be indigent and will be appointed a lawyer.
Lewis added that though Alexander had been Molnar’s roommate at the time of the shooting, most of his family lives in Phoenix. He noted, too, that the case soon will be presented to a Mahoning County grand jury, and that Alexander’s preliminary hearing date will be scheduled shortly afterward.
Police are still investigating the shooting, which they say involved a .45-caliber handgun — just one of numerous weapons that belonged to Molnar at the house.
In addition, Friday’s autopsy conducted by the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office revealed that Molnar died of a single gunshot wound to the head and ruled his death a homicide. Toxicology results and further investigation are pending, according to a news release.
Though police are nearing the end of the evidence-gathering process, there are still “a bunch of people we need to take statements from,” said Police Chief Tim Roddy.
“We want to do our due diligence to make sure we’re taking care of the victim, as well as the suspect,” Roddy said. “We want to make sure we’re fair and impartial on both ends, wherever the investigation takes us.”
So far, police have determined that the shooting was the result of a prolonged fight between Molnar and Alexander.
Lewis said the fight apparently began at the Palace in the Pines, a strip club in Coitsville, and was broken up by a bouncer in the club’s parking lot. It progressed on the car ride home, however, and continued in the home’s driveway and inside, he said.
Neighbors reported hearing more arguing and screaming, along with two shots, from inside the house about 2:45 a.m. Thursday. Struthers police were not contacted until about an hour later by Southwest Mercer County Regional Police in Farrell, Pa., where Alexander had turned himself in after the shooting.
Alexander waived extradition from Pennsylvania and was taken back to the Mahoning County jail Thursday afternoon.