Man charged with strangling mom waives hearing

A 57-year-old Juniata Park man charged with choking his elderly mother to death waived his right to a preliminary hearing while his sister, who was home at the time of the alleged killing, looked on yesterday.

James Ashby was arrested in the early-morning hours of March 1 after allegedly killing the mother, Margaret, while she slept. They’d shared the same home Ashby’s entire life. Media reports at the time indicated Ashby also intended to kill his sister Janet, but instead told her to call police. When police arrived, he reportedly told them, “I killed her.”

Flanked by defense attorneys Helen Levin and Steve Gross, wearing a dark denim shirt and jeans, Ashby said he understood what waiving a preliminary hearing meant despite being on prescription drugs which Levin classified as “psychotropic drugs that make it easier for him to understand what is going on.”

Ashby’s arraignment is May 24.

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