Murder trial to move forward in 1990s slaying
By Rich Cholodofsky
Published: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A Westmoreland County judge ruled Friday there is enough evidence for murder charges to stand against a Unity man accused of killing an 18-year-old man in a secluded spot in Mt. Pleasant Township two decades ago.
Judge Al Bell, in a 27-page opinion, found that human remains discovered two years ago were that of Curtis Eutsey and evidence presented during pretrial hearings were sufficient to prove that he died from injuries sustained in the woods in the early 1990s.
The prosecution has charged Robert Daniels, 43, with Eutsey's murder.
Bell ordered that the case be scheduled for trial.
Police said Daniels killed Eutsey, who was last seen in 1990. Through DNA analysis, authorities identified the skeletal remains found in March 2010 by metal scrappers in a wooded area of the township as Eutsey's.
Daniels' defense team argued there was not enough evidence to be sure the bones were Eutsey's.
Bell ruled that testimony from Eutsey's mother, DNA analysis and autopsy findings proved the bones were those of the missing man.
The bones were examined by forensic anthropologist Dennis Dirkmaat and forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht.
For the purposes of a preliminary hearing, Bell said, the commonwealth had proven that the remains were Eutsey's, who died of blunt-force trauma, and that the manner of death was homicide.
Bell rejected a defense claim to bar from evidence the detailed statement Daniels gave to police about his involvement in Eutsey's death.
The defense contended that Daniels was mentally disabled and unable to give consent to speak with police.
Dr. Douglas R. Ramm, a forensic psychologist, testified that Daniels has an IQ no higher than 65 and could not understand the questioning process.
In that statement, police said Daniels confirmed he was with Eutsey at the time.
Eutsey was last seen walking from his girlfriend's home and was killed between April 1, 1990, and Nov. 26, 1992, according to the prosecution.
In a recorded statement Daniels gave to police after his arrest two years ago, he claimed he drove Eutsey to a spot on Misty Meadows Road and the two walked about 20 yards into the dense woods.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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