A 19-year-old youth was found guilty by a jury in Schuylkill County court Tuesday of all nine criminal charges lodged against him following the burglary and murder of a Mahanoy City man last April.
He now faces life in prison.
It took a jury only 1 1/2 hours to find Jarvin Malik Huggins, who lived in a rented room at White Owl Manor, in Mahanoy Township, guilty of murder in the first degree specifically with intent to kill, murder in the second degree with felony intent; murder in the third degree by killing of another with malice, burglary of an occupied structure, robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking of more than $200 but not more than $2,000, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The commonwealth rested its case Tuesday morning with the presentation of the final two of 16 witnesses, mostly state troopers.
Suprilya Kurvilla, chief of forensic medicine at Reading Hospital, who performed the autopsy on the victim, Gene Slavinsky, 48, of 408 W. Center St., who was found dead on the basement floor of his home from severe head injury caused by a blunt instrument, was the final witness.
Kurvilla testifying Slavinsky suffered 36 impacts on the head from a blunt instrument which caused a skull fracture and death was caused from a massive head trauma. She counted 19 blows to the back of the head, four on the left side of the head, nine on the right side of the head, and four on the front of the head. She identified the 12-pound counter window weight made out of cast iron to be consistent with the type of object which could have inflicted the wounds.
Trooper Joel Stepchanick, criminal lab specialist in the study and analyzing blood splitters, testified he found spots of Slavinsky's blood on the defendant's jeans and sneakers.
After the commonwealth rested, Public Defender Kent Watkins informed the court Huggins chose not to testify. Domalakes then spoke to Huggins advising him of his rights and urged him to consult again with his attorney and that he alone should make the decision whether to testify or not testify.
Domalakes also instructed the jury because the defendant did not take the witness stand should not be taken into their consideration, because they had to base their verdict on the evidence presented by the commonwealth whether they proved the defendant was the murderer.
The testimony which linked Huggins to the murder began unfolding Monday.
It was established Slavinsky was murdered on April 3, 2012, but his body was not found until two days later by a neighbor who provided the first break in the case. Joseph McDonald testified he and his grandmother became concerned when they had not heard or seen Slavinsky for two days and went over to his house to check on him, and found him lying on the basement cement floor. McDonald gave the police the motive for the killing when he noticed that Slavinsky's laptop was missing.
The next break came from another resident, Walter Donnelly, who lives in another part of the borough. He testified Hudock, who had done yard work for him, approached him while he was outside his home on April 5, and told him he had committed a crime by beating somebody to death with a stick (counter window weight). He also attempted to enlist Donnelly's help by offering him $50 to get out of town. Donnelly called Mahanoy City Police Chief Weikriykas who notified state police.
State troopers immediately launched a search for Huggins and came upon him leaving through the back door of the White Owl Manner where he had lived, carrying a backpack. One by one troopers took the stand to unveil their investigation.
From the crime scene they obtained blood samples and the murder weapon. In the defendant's backpack they found the laptop computer and in his pocket collector's coins belonging to the victim. In the room he occupied at the manor, they found in a closed trash bag jeans and sneakers with blood stains.
District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon, who prosecuted the case, in her closing remarks to the jury, commended the state police on their thorough investigation. Domalakes set sentencing for Thursday, April 3.