Man pleads to reckless homicide in Struthers homicide
By Joe Gorman
A man who was to stand trial Monday for an April homicide in Struthers instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Matthew Alexander, 27, pleaded guilty in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to a reduced charge of reckless homicide in the April 3 shooting death of 34-year-old Matthew Molnar.
Judge John Durkin accepted the plea and set sentencing for 11 a.m. Feb. 3.
Police say Alexander shot Molnar about 2:45 a.m. April 3 after a night of heavy drinking. Reports said the two had fought in the parking lot of a Coitsville strip club, were separated and drove back to Molnar’s home in the 100 block of Renee Drive. The argument, however, continued inside the car.
At the home, there was more arguing before Molnar was shot. A neighbor said she heard the two arguing in Molnar’s drive before she heard a series of shots and then Alexander drove his car through her yard to leave.
Alexander fled to Farrell, Pa., where he was located by Southwest Mercer County Regional Police in UPMC Horizion Hospital in Farrell.
Judge Durkin said while accepting the plea that if the case had gone to trial. Alexander’s attorney, David Engler, was prepared to argue his client shot Molnar in self-defense.
Police said Molnar was a gun collector, and tests showed the gun that killed him was a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun from his collection.
Meghan Brundege, an assistant county prosecutor, said the plea offer was made because Alexander had a good case for self-defense. He originally was charged with murder. The murder charge was dropped, as was a firearms specification, in exchange for his plea.