Charges filed in Washington hammer attack

| Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012

A Washington man is accused of striking his girlfriend in the head with a sledgehammer.

State police charged Paul C. Helmick, 47, of Washington with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related crimes in connection with the attack on Lori Ann Phillips, 51, of Washington.

Helmick beat down the door of Phillips' Bel Air Drive apartment with a sledgehammer on Sunday and once inside hit her in the right side of the head, according to a criminal complaint.

Phillips was flown to UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland in critical condition with a skull fracture, the complaint said.

A resident across the hall told police she heard a loud banging and saw Helmick leaving with the sledgehammer, the complaint said. When she asked him what he did, he replied, "I killed that (expletive) dead," according to the complaint.

Helmick was "not very forthcoming" with information, Trooper Joseph Christy said.

Helmick was being held on a $250,000 bail. He did not have an attorney listed in court records. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 29.

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