Criminal homicide was one of the charges against Miguel Huey, 26, in Mercer County Jail accused of shooting Andrew T. Walko in the chest and killing him May 13.
Walko was an innocent bystander who was out walking his dogs near his Emerson Avenue home in Farrell.
The charge of criminal homicide was withdrawn on Oct. 18 and replaced with second- and third-degree murder charges, according to court documents.
“We wanted to make the charges more specific, to fit the nature of the crime,” Mercer County District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said.
Third-degree murder charges are made if prosecutors believe killing with malice, or hardness of heart, can be shown with the use of a deadly weapon. Second-degree murder charges were added because Walko was killed allegedly during the course of a robbery.
Huey was also charged in May with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, five counts of aggravated assault, carrying a firearm without a license, and making terroristic threats for his part in the events that night, police said.
At a preliminary hearing in district court in June, Nicholas Verrill said Huey shot and killed his stepfather on Emerson Avenue, Farrell, when he was apparently checking on a scuffle at Verrill’s house.
Verrill also testified that Huey and a masked man pistol-whipped, punched, stomped on, robbed and forced him to his knees, then each held a cocked, chrome pistol to his head.
Verrill said Huey came into his house that night under the guise of selling him his “underground rap” mix tapes.
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.