Pickup Truck Driver Admits to Fatal Stabbing of Cousin

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April 29 2021 08:00 pm

Four months ago, a bizarre Belmont County case made news, when two cousins, arguing in a moving pickup truck, pulled over and fought along I-70.

Thursday, the driver of that truck admitted his guilt in what turned out to be his cousin’s death.

Harvey Lechner, 25, of Rayland was driving the pickup truck on May 7. His cousin Christopher Bird, and a friend, were riding around with him and drinking.

At some point, they argued and pulled over, got out and fought. There was a knife involved, and Bird was stabbed. Lechner entered three guilty pleas in court on Thursday.

“Involuntary manslaughter, possession of criminal tools and tampering with evidence as alleged, said Belmont County Common Pleas Court Judge John Vavra.

“So they put him in the truck, the victim in the truck, once they realized what the one gentleman had done. And unfortunately he passed away, I believe a day after the incident happened,” said Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry.

The three were supposedly driving around for four hours, looking for Piedmont Lake. Lechner could get a total of 15 years in prison.

He pleaded to involuntary manslaughter instead of the original charge of murder.

He’ll be sentenced October 3rd.


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