Judge bars use of letters but allows statements as evidence in Pa. mobile home park slaying

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UNIONTOWN, Pennsylvania — A judge has ruled that letters written by a western Pennsylvania man to a woman he is accused of having killed cannot be used as evidence during his trial.

But Fayette County Judge Steve Leskinen also ruled that prosecutors can use statements allegedly made by 57-year-old Henry Crawford of North Union Township to police.

Prosecutors say they plan to seek the death penalty if Crawford is convicted of first-degree murder in the January 2013 stabbing death of 49-year-old Lisa Tupta at Holiday Mobile Home Park.

Leskinen ruled last week that Crawford had invoked his rights at Uniontown Hospital when a state trooper asked whether he wanted to write the letters.

The judge said the letters were incriminating and the defendant "clearly did not ... waive his privilege against self-incrimination."

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