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Defender seeking dimissal of man’s murder confession |

Defender seeking dimissal of man’s murder confession

Wynne Everett
| Wednesday, July 25, 2001 12:00 p.m

A public defender has asked an Allegheny County judge to throw out the confession of a Springdale man accused of killing his elderly mother last year.

Ward E. Armstrong, 38, was not informed of his rights to remain silent and have an attorney present when he was questioned by detectives, Robert Foreman argued Tuesday when the trial was scheduled to begin.

The body of Lillian Armstrong, 77, was found Nov. 5 on her burning bed inside her Orchard Street home.

Ward Armstrong told county detectives that his mother, who was in declining health, wanted to die, a police affidavit states. He said he hit his mother in the head with a hammer before setting the bed on fire, police said.

County detectives testified yesterday that Armstrong was advised of his rights when he was questioned and given a polygraph test two days after the fire.

Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen is scheduled to continue a hearing on the public defender’s motion today.

Also yesterday, Armstrong asked that his trial be postponed because he did not have enough time to prepare his defense. Machen denied the request. Armstrong also said he did not think Foreman was experienced enough to be his attorney.

‘I disagree with that,’ Machen said. ‘Mr. Foreman is an excellent trial attorney.’

Wynne Everett is a reporter for the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum.

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