A 91-year-old Detroit man might have been forced to drink gasoline before he was beaten and burned to death in his house, officials said.
The suspect is slated for another hearing in Wayne County Circuit Court next week, Opposing Views reported.
During an autopsy, officials said Paul Monchnik was found to have consumed a fifth of a cup of a by-product of an accelerant that is similar to gasoline.
The teen suspect in the case may have forced him to consume it.
“It would have to come through the mouth,” Dr. Kilak Kesha testified in 36th District Court, according to the Detroit News. “The victim could have drank it or (had it put into his open mouth while he was unconscious).”
Police said Steward entered the home of Monchnik, a retired TV repairman, in the early morning before assaulting him.
“The word ‘heinous’ does not even begin to describe this crime,” Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.
Monchnik, a widower, is a father of three who lived in the house for 65 years.
“These neighbors, actually, have been helping my dad for years. So I’m really having a hard time getting my head around the idea that someone from their family was involved,” the victim’s son Scott Monchnik said.
Police released surveillance footage of the suspect buying gasoline before the fire, MLive.com reported. Steward was arrested the following day.
Steward was charged with felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, and burning a dwelling.
He faces a possible mandatory minimum sentence of life behind bars.
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In December, a gas station worker testified Steward purchased 50 cents’ worth of gasoline and a lighter on the morning the victim was killed and set aflame.
Odai Al-Radabi said he recalls when Steward walked 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 Latoya Willis, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor, that Stewart “looked nervous … scared.” Al-Radabi picked Stewart out of a police lineup and also during the hearing.
Some relatives of Steward also testified last month they recognized him as their relative from a surveillance footage from the gas station.