Pa. Slaying Suspect Arraigned
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%) 1 PORT CARBON, Pa. (AP) _ A man accused of killing his estranged wife, son and two friends before trying to take his own life was brought to court by ambulance for an arraignment.
Michael Harley Bechtel, 26, was arraigned Friday on four counts each of homicide and aggravated assault, and one count of possessing instruments of crime. He was wheeled into the courtroom on a gurney.
Bechtel allegedly went to his wife’s home early Aug. 15, shooting the adults at the kitchen table and the couple’s 3-year-old son, Jacob, in his bed before shooting himself in the head.
Bechtel, who now is paralyzed on the left side of his body, was found to have sufficiently recovered from his injuries to face legal proceedings, so Schuylkill County District Attorney Frank Cori scheduled a hearing Friday before District Justice David Plachko.
Bechtel remains hospitalized but will probably be discharged soon, police said. He appeared without an attorney and answered the district justice’s questions in a raspy whisper.
Bechtel’s wife, Raienhna Bechtel, 22, had been granted a protection order in March barring him from having any contact with her.
Also killed were Kristen Tragus, 34, and David Barkus, 30.