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Washington Township double homicide trial set to begin

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Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Jury selection for the murder trial of a Ligonier man charged with killing a couple at a Washington Township home nearly two years ago will begin on Sept. 9.

Eric Hall, 30, is charged with two counts of criminal homicide for the Aug. 28, 2011 murders of Anthony Henderson and Noelle Richards.

Police said Henderson, 24, was bludgeoned with a baseball bat and then was shot to death, along with Richards, 24, of New Stanton. Henderson was serving as a caretaker for the home on Fox Road.

Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway said the trial is expected to last about eight days.

Prosecutors have said they believe Hall robbed Henderson and Richards. Henderson's wallet was found near Hall's home after the murders,

Police believe Hall and Henderson exchanged at least 11 text messages hours before the killings, according to court records.

Witnesses who testified during a preliminary hearing in late 2011 testified that Hall told them he found the bodies and hit two unidentified men with a baseball bat as he attempted to escape from the scene.

Hall's lawyer, Michael DeMatt, said in court on Monday that the defense expects to present about a day of testimony in the trial.

That defense, according to DeMatt, is that Hall was not the killer, and that other people who had traipsed through the house that night could have committed the murders.

“He (Hall) was just there and stumbled across the bodies,” DeMatt said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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