Munchinski v. Solomon, 2:13cv1280.

Citation258 F.Supp.3d 534
Decision Date27 June 2017
Docket Number2:13cv1280.
Parties David MUNCHINSKI, Plaintiff, v. Gerald SOLOMON, and Ralph Warman, in their individual capacities; and Dana L. Fayock, Executrix of the Estate of George Fayock, Defendants.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania

258 F.Supp.3d 534

David MUNCHINSKI, Plaintiff,
Gerald SOLOMON, and Ralph Warman, in their individual capacities; and Dana L. Fayock, Executrix of the Estate of George Fayock, Defendants.


United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania.

Signed June 27, 2017

258 F.Supp.3d 540

Noah Geary, Washington, PA, for Plaintiff.

Lee R. Demosky, Thomas P. Pellis, Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, P.L.L.C., Greensburg, PA, Bethann R. Lloyd, Jason R. McLean, Cipriani & Werner, P.C., Mary Lynch Friedline, Office of Attorney General, Pittsburgh, PA, for Defendants.


David Stewart Cercone, United States District Judge


Plaintiff, David Munchinski ("Munchinski" or "Plaintiff"), filed a two count Amended Complaint against Defendants, Gerald Solomon ("Solomon"), Ralph Warman ("Warman"), John Kopas, III ("Kopas")1 , and Dana L. Fayock, Executrix of the Estate of George Fayock ("Fayock")(collectively "Defendants"), asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violation of his rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution at Count I and a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging malicious prosecution at Count II. Solomon, Warman and Kopas were prosecutors for the Fayette County District Attorney's Office during the times relevant to this action, and George Fayock ("Fayock") was an employee of the Pennsylvania State Police. Motions for Summary Judgment have been filed on behalf of all the Defendants and on behalf of Munchinski. Responses to the motions have been filed and the motions are now before the Court.


On or about December 2, 1977, two (2) men, James P. Alford ("Alford") and Raymond Gierke ("Gierke") were sexually assaulted and murdered in Bear Rocks, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Solomon & Warman Concise Statement of Material Facts ("S & W CSMF") ¶ 1. Trooper Montgomery Goodwin ("Goodwin") of the Pennsylvania State Police was the lead investigator on the Alford/Gierke homicide case. Fayock Concise Statement of Material Fact ("F CSMF") ¶ 2. Over the next several years, the State Police interviewed more than one hundred individuals and pursued numerous leads without success. F CSMF ¶ 4.

Munchinski's name surfaced as a suspect in the murders in January 1978, when several witnesses reported that Munchinski confessed to the murders at the Five Points Bar in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. F CSMF ¶ 5. Goodwin interviewed Munchinski and Leon Scaglione ("Scaglione") on February 8, 1978 in the Westmoreland County Prison. F CSMF ¶ 7. Munchinski denied involvement and offered assistance if Goodwin would help him with certain charges filed against him. F CSMF ¶ 8.

On June 24, 1979, Goodwin and Corporal Mangiacarne ("Mangiacarne") interviewed Richard Bowen ("Bowen"), who was incarcerated in Greensburg. F CSMF ¶ 9. Bowen told the State Police that Scaglione had admitted shooting Alford and Gierke in Bear Rocks. F CSMF ¶ 10. On September 9, 1982, Goodwin, accompanied by Corporal Bernard Gorman ("Gorman") of the Pennsylvania State Police, interviewed Bowen at the Monaca Police Department. F CSMF ¶ 11; S & W CSMF ¶ 14. Goodwin

258 F.Supp.3d 541

had Bowen sign a waiver of rights prior to the interview. Joint Appendix Solomon/Warman ("JA") Ex. 4; Munchinski Appendix [ECF No. 150], ("Munch. App.") Exhibit C, p. 119. During the interview, Bowen told Goodwin that he drove Munchinski and Scaglione to the cabin in Bear Rocks, and waited in the car while Munchinski and Scaglione went inside. F CSMF ¶¶ 12 & 13; JA Ex.4. Bowen told Goodwin that he heard gun shots, Munchinski and Scaglione ran from the cabin, and they drove back to Greensburg. F CSMF ¶ 13; JA Ex. 4. Bowen also stated that he read about the killings the next day, and he went to Oklahoma to stay with his father.2 Id. Bowen told Goodwin he would testify if he was given immunity. JA Ex. 4.

Bowen agreed to go with Goodwin and Gorman to the Fayette County Courthouse and furnish a statement to District Attorney Solomon. F CSMF ¶ 15; JA Ex. 4. Solomon testified that the purpose of the meeting was to interview Bowen to determine "if, in fact, [Bowen] had information relative to [the Alford/Gierke] homicides." Munchinski Appendix [ECF. 139] ("M. App.") Ex. 12 p. 120. Bowen signed a waiver of rights and was interviewed by Solomon and Assistant District Attorney Warman. F CSMF ¶ 16; JA Ex. 4. Gorman, Fayock, and Goodwin, all from the Pennsylvania State Police, were also present during the interview. Id. Bowen provided a statement, which Goodwin indicated was recorded and was to be transcribed by the DA's office. JA Ex. 4.

On October 21, 1982, Goodwin, Gorman and Mangiacarne appeared with Bowen in Solomon's office, and Bowen gave another statement which, unlike the previous statement he gave in September, indicated that he was in the cabin and witnessed the sexual assaults and the shootings of Alford and Gierke. JA Ex.6. The statement was taped and transcribed. F CSMF ¶ 21. Based upon Bowen's statement, Goodwin prepared an Affidavit of Probable Cause, and signed and filed the criminal complaint against Munchinski.

On October 22, 1982, Munchinski and Scaglione were arrested and charged with two (2) counts of Criminal Homicide and two (2) counts of Criminal Conspiracy to commit homicide. Munchinski v. Wilson , 807 F.Supp.2d 242, 250 (W.D. Pa. 2011). Munchinski and Scaglione were jointly tried in April of 1983. Id. There was no physical evidence linking either individual to the crimes. Instead, the Commonwealth relied heavily on the testimony of Bowen, who, as stated above, claimed to have been an eyewitness to the murders, and whose testimony alone placed Munchinski at the scene of the crimes. Id. Specifically, Bowen testified that Gierke and Alford were raped by Scaglione and Munchinski, respectively, and that the two victims were murdered almost immediately thereafter. Munchinski v. Wilson , 694 F.3d 308, 315 (3d Cir. 2012). Bowen's trial testimony, however, was markedly different from the statements he gave police when he first approached them as a potential witness. Id. Bowen's testimony was also at odds with certain facts that were elicited at trial. For example, Bowen claimed that he drove Scaglione and Munchinski to the site of the murders in Scaglione's lime green Ford Gran Torino. Id. Scaglione, however, did not purchase that Gran Torino until almost six months after the murders. Id.

The prosecution also presented Lori Lexa ("Lexa") and Deborah Sue Dahlmann ("Dahlmann") who testified that Munchinski and Scaglione confessed to murdering

258 F.Supp.3d 542

Alford and Gierke while at the Five Points Bar in Greensburg on January 28, 1978. Munchinski v. Wilson , 807 F.Supp.2d at 250 ; S & W CSMF ¶ 4. Lexa and Dahlmann were friends prior to their involvement in the case, and Dahlmann's ex-husband, Ed Wiltrout, was a prime suspect in the murders of Alford and Gierke. Munchinski v. Wilson , 694 F.3d at 315. At that time, however, Munchinski was unaware that a witness told police that Wiltrout was one of the shooters. Id. Munchinski was unable to cross-examine Dahlmann with the witness statement implicating Wiltrout because the report documenting that statement had not been produced. Id. The joint trial ended in a hung jury, and a mistrial was declared. Id.

On October 31, 1983, upon the filing of a "Petition to View Evidence" on behalf of Munchinski and Scaglione, the Honorable Richard D. Cicchetti "ordered and directed" that:

counsel for the defendants, and the defendant, David Joseph Munchinski be permitted to examine, inspect, photograph and make record notes of all evidence that the Office of the District Attorney and/or the Pennsylvania State Police or their agents, may have in their possession or that they may acquire, that relates to the above captioned cases.

M App. Ex. 5. Despite Judge Cicchetti's order, Munchinski contends that following exculpatory evidence was withheld:

(1) Police reports showing that Bowen, the purported eyewitness and get-away driver, was in Oklahoma on the night of the murders;

(2) A police report showing that an individual named Mike Urdzick had confessed with specificity to murdering the victims with an accomplice, Edgar Wiltrout;

(3) A police report by Pennsylvania State Trooper Montgomery Goodwin which contradicted Bowen regarding the timing of the anal rape of the victims;

(4) A report memorializing a conversation with a deputy coroner that contradicted Bowen's account of the anal rape of the victims;

(5) A one (1) page addendum to the autopsy report that was exculpatory on its face;

(6) A police report showing the existence of nail scrapings which could have been tested;

(7) Information on the leniency Defendants allegedly offered Bowen in exchange for his testimony;

(8) A police report regarding a conversation between one of the victims and a telephone operator, which contradicted Bowen's eyewitness account;

(9) A police report indicating the involvement of an individual named Robert Mangello in the murders;

(10) A police report of indicating the involvement of an individual named Joseph Lucy in the murders;

(11) A police report by Trooper Goodwin regarding Bowen's first statement provided to law

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