Jurors deciding the fate of accused Motel 6 strangler Tracey Raynard Bradley began watching his videotaped confession on Friday afternoon.
Bradley, 48, who was homeless, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and related offenses for the incident at the 323 Arsenal Road motel in Manchester Township.
He's accused of strangling 72-year-old Lee Choppin in the victim's motel room while robbing him. Choppin's body was found May 26, 2010, but he was likely killed two days before that, testimony revealed.
Choppin previously lived in York but had moved to Roanoke, Va., police said. He was in York for surgery, according to trial testimony.
Bradley maintains his innocence, according to defense attorney Kevin Hoffman, who previously told jurors he will argue Choppin died of natural causes.
Bradley's videotaped confession was played in court before, during a Feb. 1, 2011, suppression hearing. His former attorney was seeking to have the tape thrown out, but was unsuccessful.
Confession: Bradley broke down and cried during the three-hour videotaped police interview, and told lead Detective Sgt. Dave Steffen and others present that he hadn't planned the killing. (At the time, Steffen was a Northern York County Regional Police investigator; he's now chief of Northern Lancaster County Regional Police.)
"God, I didn't mean to hurt him like that ... I swear to you," Bradley said while being taped. "It wasn't my intention for this man to die."
Initially, Bradley denied having anything to do with the homicide.
But after Steffen began to reveal evidence investigators had already gathered against him, Bradley's story changed. That evidence included the confession of his stepdaughter to pawning one of the victim's rings, as well as records that Bradley used the victim's credit card at two gas stations.
"You know we got you," Steffen told Bradley. "You're a user, you're a junkie. ... I know what you're all about."
'Panicked': Bradley then admitted he went into Choppin's room to rob him and -- panicked he would be caught and returned to prison -- put the victim in a "sleeper hold" to knock him out.
"I just held him ... till he stopped moving," Bradley said on tape. "I'm thinking he was still alive and I ran out the room."
Bradley told investigators he felt forced into committing the robbery because his family had no money and had been evicted from their apartment by York City officials due to its uninhabitable conditions. Bradley's children are adults.
He said if his former landlord had simply refunded his family's rent or security deposit, the killing wouldn't have happened.
'Wanted to talk': On Friday morning, Northern Regional Cpl. John Hartley testified that when he took Bradley into custody on June 4, 2010, Bradley "wanted to talk."
But after Bradley mentioned he had his attorney's phone number programmed in his cell phone, Hartley said he insisted Bradley stopped talking, then read the man his Miranda rights.
"The more I told him I wasn't going to talk to him, the more he wanted to talk," Hartley told the jury.
Cigarette break: Back at Northern Regional headquarters, Bradley eventually waived his Miranda rights and confessed, police said.
During one of several breaks taken so Bradley could smoke cigarettes in the station's garage, he started a conversation with Hartley, the corporal said.
"While we were down in the garage he began to cry," Hartley told jurors. "He said ... 'I didn't mean to hurt that man.'"
Prosecution testimony is expected to resume Monday morning.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.