Man to stand trial in wife’s shooting death

North Strabane resident faces charges of homicide, tampering with evidence

April 9, 2014
Scott Edmonds is led to the Washington County Courthouse Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on charges he killed his wife in their North Strabane Township home. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A North Strabane Township man accused in last month’s shooting death of his wife at their home will stand trial in her death although his defense attorney argued there was no evidence that his client committed the crime.

Scott Alan Edmonds, 50, of 117 Victoria Drive, was arrested after his 49-year-old wife, Louise M. Weis-Edmonds, was found shot to death March 25 in the kitchen of their condominium.

District Judge Ethan Ward ordered Edmonds to stand trial on charges of criminal homicide and tampering with evidence following Wednesday’s preliminary hearing in Central Court.

Washington County Coroner Tim Warco testified that Weis-Edmonds died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head. There was indication the gun had been fired at close range.

Sgt. Joseph Curnarski and Officer Brian Hart responded to 117 Victoria after a caller to 911 told the dispatcher he heard a gunshot and it sounded as though it had come from inside the house.

When police arrived, a neighbor was standing outside the house. Police entered the house and Curnarski said they could see a man lying on top of a woman, cradling her and sobbing or crying. The man, later identified as Edmonds, did not comply with commands to show his hands. Curnarski grabbed him by the left arm and Canonsburg police Officer Scott Bashioum grabbed his right arm as they pulled him off the woman, later identified as his wife.

Curnarski said she was on her back and there was a great deal of blood. He testified there was no sign of an altercation, although there were multiple beer cans and liquor bottles and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts.

Township police Detective John Wybranowski obtained a warrant to search the home. The state police forensics services unit also was contacted to assist with collection of evidence at the home.

Weis-Edmonds’ body was in the kitchen. Two live cartridges and one spent casing were found near her body. Wybranowski said bloody footprints were found leading to a room that was an office and also contained a pool table.

Inside that room, Wybranowski said blood evidence was found on files. A Ruger .380-caliber handgun was found inside a corner pocket of the pool table. The box for the gun, registered to Edmonds, was found on the top shelf of a closet inside the room. Wybranowski said the caliber of the gun was consistent with the spent casing found in the kitchen.

Less than an hour before the call was made to 911 from Edmonds’ home to report the shooting, Kandace Crouse of North Franklin Township said she received an unusual call to her home.

“A male said ‘Hello. I killed Louise. I am sorry,’” Crouse testified. “I told him that he needed to call someone who knows Louise and he hung up.”

The more she thought about the call, the stranger it seemed, so she recorded the time the call was received at 7:27 p.m. and the telephone number. She called police the following day after learning about the shooting.

The call was reportedly made from Edmonds’ home. Edmonds was working as a physical therapist with Crouse’s husband, Scott Crouse, who was recovering from hip surgery.

Scott Crouse testified that Edmonds had called him that morning to cancel the therapy session due to a death in the family. He said that he did not initially recognize the number as that of his therapist. The call to the 911 center to report the shooting came from the same number.

Defense attorney Christopher Blackwell asked Ward to dismiss both charges against his client.

“There is no evidence that Mr. Edmonds caused the wound to his wife,” Blackwell argued. “There is no evidence connecting him to the shooting.”

“The is no indication the voice on the call the hour before the 911 call was him,” he added. “There is no physical evidence from him.”

Chad Schneider, first assistant district attorney, countered there was no evidence of forced entry to the home.

“The wound was to the back of her head,” Schneider said. “The weapon was found hidden.”

“He made a call admitting to killing her,” he added. “The house phone was used to make the calls.”

Edmonds remains in Washington County jail, where he is being held without bond.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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