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More than a decade after Scott Edmonds was arrested and accused of shooting his wife to death in their North Strabane townhouse in March 2014, his murder trial began Wednesday morning after being postponed several times over the years.

During opening arguments at the Washington County Courthouse, the defense argued that Edmonds' 49-year-old wife, Louise M. Weis-Edmonds, died by suicide, while prosecutors argued it was nearly impossible that she shot herself in the back of the head with a handgun.

First Assistant District Attorney Leslie Ridge said there were only two people in the rowhouse at 117 Victoria Drive when Weis-Edmonds died on March 25, 2014, suggesting Edmonds fired the shot. She also noted a cryptic voicemail with a man's voice sent to another person's phone after his wife's death.

“I killed Louise. I'm sorry,” Ridge said in her opening statement, recounting a voice message Edmonds allegedly left on another person's phone.

Defense attorney Mark Adams called the incident a “tragic shooting” and said Weis-Edmonds was struggling with several personal and family issues at the time and was self-medicating with alcohol. He said they wanted to show the jury, which sat Tuesday, that Weis-Edmonds committed suicide and that there were marks and bloodstains on her right finger that showed it was a self-inflicted wound.

Ridge questioned how the .380-caliber pistol used in the shooting could be found in the pocket of a pool table in another room while bloody footprints were visible throughout the house. She added that the victim had a blood alcohol level of .411% at the time – more than five times the legal limit to drive – and an expert would testify that it would have been impossible for her to have pulled the trigger while intoxicated.

Ridge also said that during a police interview after the shooting, Edmonds implied that he was responsible.

“It's all my fault,” Ridge said, recounting what Edmonds had told police. “I'm finished. My life is over.”

After opening statements, testimony began with the 911 call Edmonds made after shooting Weis-Edmonds. He told a dispatcher that he heard a gunshot in the house. However, most of the conversation was inaudible and the call ended prematurely.

North Strabane Police Constable Brian Hart testified that he and his supervisor were the first to arrive at the house and found the front door open. They looked inside and saw two pairs of legs lying in the kitchen, so they entered and identified themselves as police officers.

“He was lying on top of his wife and appeared to be sobbing,” Hart said.

Hart then asked where the gun was, to which Edmonds replied, “What gun?”

Hart and his supervisor, Joseph Curnarski, who was a sergeant at the time and is now retired, pulled Edmonds away from his wife's body and took him out of the house while they checked to see if anyone else was in the row house. They found no one else, but officers eventually found the .380-caliber pistol used in the shooting in the pocket of a pool table in another room.

Curnarski testified that the crime scene indicated that Weis-Edmonds, who had been shot in the back of the head, had died some time before Edmonds called 911.

“There was a lot of blood around the woman's head,” Curnarski said. “The blood was already starting to dry.”

In other testimony, jurors were shown photos from inside the house, giving them an idea of ​​what the crime scene looked like after the shooting.

Edmonds, wearing a gray suit, listened attentively to Wednesday's testimony. He is charged with manslaughter and tampering with evidence. He has been held without bail in the Washington County Jail since his arrest in the death of his wife.

The trial has taken so long because Edmonds, now 60, has had disagreements with his defense. He has fired several lawyers over the years, arguing he must be able to represent himself before Adams takes over the case in 2022.

Ridge acknowledged that unusual circumstances led to the murder case taking so long to begin trial, but told the jury that the long time frame should not affect their decision-making process.

“That was 10 years ago. … This is not a television show. Things in the criminal justice system are the way they are,” Ridge said.

Testimony before Judge John DiSalle will continue this morning; the trial is expected to last into next week.

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