Arnold murder suspect pleads to minor drug-related offense

·1 min read

Jul. 27—A New Kensington man charged in a fatal shooting last year in Arnold appeared in a Westmoreland County courtroom Monday and pleaded guilty to a minor drug-related offense as he continues to await trial on a charge of first-degree murder.

Mario M. Gatti, 31, is scheduled for trial in October in connection with the Jan. 16, 2020, shooting of 33-year-old Michael Coover Jr. of Brackenridge.

Police said Gatti brandished a gun as he came through an unlocked door of an Arnold apartment, pushed one person aside, fired multiple shots at Coover as he sat in the kitchen and threatened two women and a baby.

Gatti was arrested on a beach in Jacksonville, Fla., in April 2020 and extradited back to Pennsylvania a month later. He is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison without bond.

In court on Monday, prosecutors dismissed a charge of marijuana possession and allowed Gatti to plead guilty to a summary disorderly conduct offense.

According to court records, police said they found a jar that contained marijuana and ecstasy in Gatti's rental car during a traffic stop in October 2019.

"I just want to get this matter behind me," Gatti said in court on Monday.

Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani ordered Gatti pay a $150 fine.

He faces a potential sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the first-degree murder charge. He also is charged with second-degree murder, burglary and multiple counts of reckless endangerment and making terroristic threats.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, rcholodofsky@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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