The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 19, 2012

Ex-councilman's trial delayed again


A former western Pennsylvania borough councilman's trial in a cold-case murder has been delayed.

Sixty-six-year-old Gregory Hopkins, a former Bridgewater councilman, was arrested in January and charged in the 1979 death of 23-year-old Catherine Walsh.

But Judge Harry Knafelc says testimony from an expert witness is inadmissible because his conclusions lacked scientific basis and were "too vague and imprecise." The testimony was about evidence from Walsh's nightgown that matched Hopkins' DNA. A key question is whether that evidence could have been deposited long before the murder.

Hopkins has denied killing Walsh. He acknowledges they had a sexual relationship, but says that ended a month before she died.

The trial had been scheduled to start next week, but the district attorney's office has appealed the judge's order to Superior Court.


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