A judge has ruled that a teenager's alleged statements to authorities can be used in his trial in the stabbing death of his girlfriend on a suburban Philadelphia hiking trail last year.
The Pottstown Mercury reports that a Montgomery County judge ruled that Tristan Stahley's statements were made voluntarily and were properly obtained.
Investigators say the then-16-year-old youth argued with 17-year-old Julie Siller on the Skippack Trail on May 25, 2013. Stahley was angry because Stiller was "going out too much," according to state police. After Stiller smashed Stahley's cell phone, he allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed her in the throat and body. Stahley allegedly told police he then dragged her body off the trail and into the woods to conceal the murder.
Officials said the two teenagers had been dating "off and on" for six to nine months.
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When Stahley went home that night, his mother told police that she could tell something was wrong. Police say the two then left the house to take a walk and talk. During the walk, according to the criminal complain, Stahley confessed to the crime. When his mother asked if he was joking, he said, "no" and began hysterically crying, according to the criminal complaint.
Stahley's mother called authorities.
Defense attorney Timothy Barton had argued that the youth's statements were improperly obtained, but state troopers testified that his mother was present when he waived his right to an attorney.
Stahley is charged with murder and will be tried as an adult.