Pa. man pleads guilty in 2012 baseball bat killing
EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A 51-year-old man faces between 10 to 40 years in prison after pleading guilty in the baseball bat slaying of his estranged girlfriend's son last fall.
Gregory Conzo of Summerhill pleaded guilty Wednesday in Cambria County to third-degree murder in the November 2012 beating death of 37-year-old Michael Pcola. Authorities said Conzo was arguing with Pcola's mother at a Cresson home and used an aluminum bat to strike the son, who died two days later at a Johnstown hospital.
Conzo told the judge that Pcola came downstairs during the argument and threatened to kill him. He said he feared for his life but only grabbed the bat in hopes of intimidating the younger man and settling him down.
Asked by the judge why he had the bat to begin with, Conzo replied that he always had a bat and a knife around to protect himself from Pcola.
"This wasn't the first time I feared for my life, but he usually backed down," he said.
Defense attorney Kenneth Sottile said he will seek a punishment on the lower end of the standard sentencing range next month, probably 10 years.
"He was scared, however ... he overreacted when he swung the bat," Sottile said. "He intended to hit him in the arm, as he said glanced off his arm, and struck him in the head."