If you are a two-bit thug discovered mid-burglary by the elderly resident of the home you are robbing, there is covering your tracks — and then there is depraved indifference beyond imagining.
Unfortunately for 91-year-old homeowner Paul Monchnik, 17-year-old neighbor George R. Steward IV chose Door 2. When Monchnik surprised Steward as the latter was ransacking his house on Nov. 23, the teen beat the nonagenarian unconscious, poured gasoline down his throat, and tossed a lit match on him. The flames rapidly spread, ultimately destroying the entire house.
They didn’t, however, destroy the evidence entirely. According to The Detroit News, assistant Wayne County medical examiner Kilak Kesha, said the autopsy showed Monchnik had 1/5 a cup of a flammable liquid, possibly gasoline, in his stomach at the time of death. “It would have to come through the mouth,” Kesha testified in 36th District Court.
Further evidence that points to Steward’s guilt was provided by gas station attendant Odai Al-Radabi, who testified that on the night the elderly man was killed and set ablaze Stewart bought 50 cents’ worth of gasoline and a lighter.
Odai Al-Radabi said he remembers when Stewart came into his Sunoco near Eight Mile and Telegraph with a big gas can.
“I saw this guy in the gas station,” Al-Radabi said.
The clerk told Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Latoya Willis that Stewart “looked nervous … scared.” Al-Radabi picked Stewart out of a police lineup and also in court.
Stewart has been charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, and burning a dwelling. His next court date is Jan. 19.
The judge in the case, Kenneth King, said he found it sad that Paul Monchnik had lived as long as he had only to meet so unconscionable an end.