Report can be used in cold-case murder trial

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – A state appeals court says prosecutors will be able to use a forensic pathologist’s report placing a former borough councilman at the scene of the strangulation death of a former girlfriend more than three decades ago in western Pennsylvania.


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the Superior Court panel ruled the report by pathologist Cyril Wecht admissible in the Beaver County trial of 67-year-old Gregory Hopkins, a former Bridgewater councilman.


Hopkins was arrested in January 2012 in the September 1979 slaying of 23-year-old Catherine Walsh of Monaca after DNA tests tied him to the victim’s bedroom.


Defense attorney James Ross said DNA could be expected since the two earlier had an affair, but Wecht said it was “extremely unlikely” the samples were left earlier. A judge called Wecht’s conclusions “speculative.”


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