A former Motel 6 front-desk clerk told jurors deciding the fate of accused murderer Tracey Raynard Bradley that on the morning of May 26, 2010, she took a phone call from a man who said he didn't want housekeeping to clean his room that day.
Amanda Williams testified Wednesday that 72-year-old Lee Choppin was in staying that room -- Room 128 -- and Williams said she knew he was supposed to check out that day. So she asked a couple follow-up questions.
"That's when I recognized the voice," she said; it belonged to Bradley, who'd been staying at the Arsenal Road motel for a week or so with two family members.
Williams said Bradley walked into the office 10 or 15 minutes later and she asked him about the phone call. He claimed he
Note left: Another Motel 6 staffer testified she spotted a "no service" note on the door of Choppin's room on May 24, 2010 -- two days before the man's body was found inside.
And a man also called the front desk on the 24th to request no housekeeping service, a staffer testified.
An autopsy determined Choppin, of Roanoke, Va., died of asphyxiation, York County Deputy Coroner Steve Cosey told jurors on Wednesday, the first day of Bradley's murder trial.
Cosey said Choppin had likely been dead more than a day when his body was found.
Northern York County Regional Police allege Bradley strangled Choppin while robbing him inside the man's motel room.
'Sleeper hold': Bradley confessed to putting the elderly man in a "sleeper hold" until he stopped moving.
Choppin's wallet, cash, credit cards, identification and other property was missing from his room when police were summoned there on May 26, 2010, according to testimony from Northern Regional Officer Robert Ryman.
Bradley, 48, of no fixed address, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and related offenses.
During opening statements Wednesday morning, defense attorney Kevin Hoffman told jurors they will hear facts that support the idea Choppin died of natural causes.
Hoffman acknowledged Bradley confessed to putting Choppin in a sleeper hold, but "he says the man was alive and breathing when he left."
Cops take stand: District Attorney Tom Kearney and senior deputy prosecutor Jennifer Smith called 12 witnesses to the stand on Wednesday.
The afternoon's witnesses were primarily Northern Regional detectives who investigated the homicide.
They described for jurors the evidence they collected, including that a cell phone allegedly used by Bradley and owned by his wife was the cell phone used to call the front desk for the no-housekeeping request made for Choppin's room.
Also, detectives testified Pennsylvania Turnpike E-Z Pass records recorded Choppin's minivan being driven from the Harrisburg area to New Jersey on May 25, 2010. Police believe Choppin was killed the day before.
Bradley was the only Motel 6 guest at the time to give a home address of New Jersey, police said.
Trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.