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Man charged with woman’s strangulation death

A 33-year-old man Allegheny County man is facing serious charges after a incident that left a woman dead. The man, who has mounted a criminal defense in the case, was officially charged in mid-August with the death of his girlfriend, who appeared to have been strangled. Attorneys in the case say the man intends to plead not guilty to the charges against him. Authorities say they acquired additional information in the case when a cellmate of the defendant’s told them he heard the man confess to the crime. The defendant had been held in the Allegheny County Jail as he was awaiting his next hearing. The man in the case wrote the prosecutor’s office to inform them that he had information about the case. He said the defendant confessed to accidentally choking the woman after an altercation that involved finances. Not only did the man try to make the woman’s death look like a suicide, but he also attempted to kill himself that night after he left to obtain drugs. Although the confession sounds compelling on the surface, it is important to remember that testimony from others in jail is often considered suspect. First, other prisoners may simply be looking to make a deal with prosecutors that would allow them to leave custody sooner. Second, those who are incarcerated have a less-reliable reputation. Even though the defendant maintains that he came home to find his girlfriend hanged through an apparent suicide, the medical examiner in the case argues that the death was caused by ligature strangulation and ruled the death a homicide. Additional testimony came from police officers who responded to the scene. They said the man was bloodied when they arrived, but he described the woman’s apparent suicide in detail. Even though a dubious confession has been submitted for court consideration, this case should not be considered over until the jury has an opportunity to hear the defendant’s side of the story. The American legal system promises justice for all criminal defendants, no matter how unpleasant their alleged crimes may be. Source:  www.post-gazette.com, “Etna man faces trial in girlfriend’s death” No author given, Sep. 23, 2013

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