- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) - A western Pennsylvania man who authorities said killed his wife, made coffee and then called 911 to report the slaying has been acquitted by reason of insanity in her murder.

Washington County Judge John DiSalle on Friday cited psychological evaluations concluding that Ronald Powell had a long-term paranoid delusional disorder.

Defense and prosecution witnesses testified that Powell, 73, was in the grip of that disorder when he shot and killed Leslie Powell, 62, in March 2013 in their Carroll Township home.

“There’s evidence of delusional disorder way back to his teenage years,” psychologist Dr. Michael Crabtree testified.

District Attorney Gene Vittone called the ruling “no surprise” based on the defendant’s statements after the shooting, including the assertion that his wife, who was considered her husband’s caregiver, was “a snake.”

In a closed proceeding following the ruling, Powell was committed to a mental institution, where he will remain until he is deemed to have overcome his mental illness, said Chad Schneider, the county’s first assistant district attorney.

Authorities said Powell shot his wife of 20 years in the head with a shotgun as she slept, then showered and made coffee before calling 911.

Attorney Roger Ecker, representing the victim’s estate, said he wanted to talk about preventing Ronald Powell from ever profiting from her assets, but Schneider said those arguments would need to be raised in a separate civil proceeding.

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