- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

RIDGWAY, Pa. (AP) - A defense attorney acknowledges his client stabbed his girlfriend more than 100 times with a knife and screwdriver, but says the northwestern Pennsylvania man is guilty of a “passion killing” not premeditated first-degree murder.

Defense attorney Michael Marshall made that argument Wednesday to open the trial of 24-year-old Nicholas Martin, of Johnsonburg. He’s charged in Elk County with criminal homicide and abuse of a corpse in the March 2013 death of 18-year-old Alyssa Forsyth, of Ridgway.

Under the homicide charge, the jury could find him guilty of first-degree murder, which carries life in prison, or lesser counts of murder or manslaughter that carry lesser penalties.

Authorities say Martin choked and stabbed the victim during an argument in their admittedly contentious relationship.

The trial was continuing Thursday.

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