Raymond Searles Jr. to stand trial in deadly stabbing in downtown Reading
Updated On: Apr 30 2013 05:32:38 PM CDT
A Reading man will stand trial, accused of a deadly downtown stabbing on March 7.
First and third degree murder and related charges were held against Raymond Searles Jr. following testimony in a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
The testimony revealed Searles, 42, stabbed Joseph Ashford 12 times in the chest with a kitchen knife. The knife was found a few feet away, bent in a U-shape because of the force of the attack, according to testimony from Det. Joe Snell, Reading Police Dept.
"Raymond why did you snap?" 69 News asked. He replied, "No statements."
"Where did you get the knife from?" His response, "No statements."
It was a different side of Searles on Tuesday as he was escorted out of his preliminary hearing. His answers were concise, a stark contrast from last month when he confessed to 69 News cameras that he stabbed Ashford, 48, to death after arguing inside Maria's Restaurant and Bar in the 400 block of Penn Street.
"Are you innocent?" 69 News asked. "Absolutely," Searles answered.
"You admitted to us earlier that you did this?" He replied, "I'm still innocent."
Eyewitnesses outside Maria's on Penn Street testified Searles was yelling at people outside. One witness told the court Ashford walked out the bar and told the suspect, "You better shut up. You have a big mouth. Someone is going to shut it for you." The man also testified Ashford pulled out a knife saying, "I'll kill you."
Moments later, police said Searles stabbed Ashford to death. Ofc. Robbi Folk testified Searles, when taken into custody, admitted to stabbing the victim 40 times.
"Why are you so quiet today? You told us a lot last time?" 69 News asked. "Just in case I didn't live to talk about it, I told the guy it was actually..." Searles replied, but he never finished his thought.
Searles was taken back to the Berks County Jail without bail.
"Additional facts need to be developed. The charges brought forth are not appropriate," said Nicholas Stroumbakis, Searles' defense attorney.
A formal arraignment is set for June 3.
Copyright 2013 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
City's "ugly" Christmas tree causes controversy
Police asking for help to find missing Northampton woman
Lehigh County animal shelter in dire need of food donations
WWII vet shoots wife, kills self, Allentown police say
Construction worker struck by vehicle on turnpike
State police seek missing Palmerton teen
Reading parting ways with 'ugly' Christmas tree
Family's home still standing as gaping sinkhole remains open in front yard
Lafayette pounds Lehigh in 150th meeting, 27-7
Local residents urged to be on alert for high levels of deadly gas