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Westmoreland

Attorney: Rostraver man who helped in wife's suicide should be freed

Rich Cholodofsky
| Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 1:03 p.m.
Edward Friday, 82, of Rostraver pleaded guilty to criminal homicide related to slitting his wife's throat in a purported suicide pact on Jan. 19, 2018,
Edward Friday, 82, of Rostraver pleaded guilty to criminal homicide related to slitting his wife's throat in a purported suicide pact on Jan. 19, 2018,
Edward P. Friday, 80, is escorted into the office of Magisterial District Judge Charles Christner for a preliminary hearing on July 28, 2016. Friday is charged with one count of criminal homicide following investigation surrounding the death of his wife Wilma Jean Friday, 82.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Edward P. Friday, 80, is escorted into the office of Magisterial District Judge Charles Christner for a preliminary hearing on July 28, 2016. Friday is charged with one count of criminal homicide following investigation surrounding the death of his wife Wilma Jean Friday, 82.

An elderly Rostraver man jailed for two years after assisting in his wife's suicide should be spared prison and placed on house arrest, his lawyer told a judge Tuesday.

The poor health of Edward Friday, 82, and the fact that he poses no danger to the public warrant such a sentence, attorney Michael Machen wrote in court documents filed with Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Meagan Bilik DeFazio.

Friday pleaded guilty in January to causing the suicide of his 82-year-old wife. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 18.

Police said Wilma Jean Friday was found in her bed with her throat slashed in May 2016. Her husband was discovered in another room of their Cedar Hills Boulevard home with his wrists slashed.

According to court records, Edward Friday told police he and his wife had a suicide pact and that he killed her when she was unable to take her own life. Friday told police his wife attempted to fend him off and scratched his arm as he slashed her throat.

Wilma Jean Friday died two days later in a local hospital.

Police originally charged Edward Friday with criminal homicide, although he pleaded guilty to a subsection of that offense that defines assisted suicide.

At the time of his guilty plea, the judge said Friday could be sentenced to serve up to 20 years in prison.

Machen said his client has been hospitalized six times during his two years of incarceration, having been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and other ailments.

Friday, who was in a wheelchair at his plea hearing, can get around with a walker, Machen said.

He suggested the judge impose a house-arrest sentence that will immediately release Friday, who has no prior criminal record.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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