Lawyer: Defendant happened on Washington Township murder scene
The lawyer for a Ligonier man accused of killing two people at a Washington Township home told a Westmoreland County judge on Thursday that his client stumbled onto the murder scene and was not responsible for the deaths.
Attorney Michael DeMatt said Eric Hall, 30, did not kill Anthony Henderson and Noelle Richards on Aug. 28, 2011. Police said Henderson, 24, was bludgeoned with a baseball bat and then was shot to death, along with Richards, also 24.
“He stumbled across the victims just like the people who eventually came upon the scene and called 911,” DeMatt said.
Hall appeared in court Thursday for a hearing on a defense request to hire a forensic expert to examine bloody footprints left at the murder scene. One print was left on Henderson's back, according to DeMatt.
DeMatt said he wants to learn if the footprints were left by someone other than Hall.
“We want to know whether, if anything, it is of value to our case,” DeMatt said.
The prints were analyzed by an FBI footwear expert, who provided no indication of the shoe size or who left them, according to DeMatt.
District Attorney John Peck confirmed the footprints were analyzed but declined to discuss the findings.
Judge Rita Hathaway will rule on the defense request for an expert at a later date.
Prosecutors have said they believe Hall robbed Henderson and Richards and that Henderson's wallet was found near Hall's home after the murders.
According to information contained in a search warrant, police believe Hall and Henderson exchanged at least 11 text messages hours before the killings.
During a preliminary hearing in December 2011, witnesses testified that Hall told them he found the bodies and hit two unidentified men with a bat as he attempted to escape from the scene.
A trial date for Hall has not yet been set. Hathaway scheduled another hearing for March to discuss the status of the case.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police gather in Ligonier for Perryopolis officer’s funeral
- Arbitration decides Westmoreland court workers’ pact
- Youngwood fire department reaches out to homeless family
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- New Stanton hopes to pick borough manager within next few weeks
- Sewickley Twp. to pay $10K for service breach
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint