Homicide suspect held for trial

| Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012

A Lemont Furnace woman will stand trial in Fayette County court on criminal homicide charges for a fatal stabbing during an argument at her home.

District Judge Wendy Dennis held Debra Ann Becker, 41, of 237 Turkeyfoot Road, North Union, for court following a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Becker was charged following a dispute at 7:55 p.m. Dec. 10, when she allegedly stabbed Ronald Alois Mudery Jr., police said. She claims she inadvertently injured Mudery as she tried to stave off an attack from his pit bull and he tried to save the dog, police reported.

Joe Zosky, a paramedic with Uniontown Firemen's Ambulance, testified that while they drove Mudery to the helipad at Uniontown Hospital, he was asked what happened, and he answered, "She stabbed me."

Mudery was flown to the trauma unit at Allegheny General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:59 p.m.

Trooper Scott Kroftcheck, with the state police at Uniontown, said an autopsy determined Mudery's death was caused by a stab wound to the abdomen.

Trooper Robert Wilson testified that authorities found a bloody knife blade on one side of the kitchen and the knife's handle on the other side, where there was a large amount of blood and items knocked around.

"I believe a fight had taken place in the kitchen," Wilson said.

Becker told police that she and Mudery were arguing, and she wanted him to leave the residence, which he refused to do, according to court documents.

Becker said Mudery commanded his pit bull to attack her, and the dog bit her arm and ripped her shirt.

In an attempt to free herself from the dog, Becker said she grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the dog. Mudery was stabbed, too, as he tried to protect the dog, she said.

Wilson testified that when he saw the dog in the bedroom, it had at least one stab wound on its back as well as blood.

Becker's attorney, Brian Salisbury, asked that the charges be dropped because the state failed to show intent on the homicide charge. The prosecution countered that Zosky testified Mudery indicated Becker stabbed him.

A preliminary arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 16 in Courtroom 5 at the Fayette County Courthouse in Uniontown.

Becker is lodged in the Fayette County Prison without bail.

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