Moments after hearing jurors pronounce him guilty of first-degree murder, robbery and other offenses, Motel 6 strangler Tracey Raynard Bradley smiled as sheriff's deputies led him from Courtroom No. 1.
It took the jury about 45 minutes of deliberations to reach its verdict. The jury also found Bradley, 48, guilty of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and stealing a vehicle.
Bradley was homeless and was staying at the Motel 6 on Arsenal Road in Manchester Township with his wife and adult stepdaughter at the time of the murder.
Jurors during trial saw Bradley's three-hour videotaped confession, during which he told Northern York County Regional Police he went into the room of fellow motel guest Lee Choppin to rob him and put the 72-year-old man in a "sleeper hold" until Choppin stopped struggling.
Choppin, of Roanoke, Va., was found dead in his motel room on May 26, 2010, but trial testimony revealed Bradley killed him about 7:45 a.m. May 24, 2010.
Sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Oct. 29.
Life sentence: In Pennsylvania, unless prosecutors seek the death penalty, a first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole.
After the verdict, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney, who prosecuted the case along with deputy prosecutor Jennifer Smith, said Bradley wasn't even worth discussing.
Instead, he wanted to talk about Choppin, who "really truly led a remarkable life," Kearney said.
Choppin lived in York for years, an engineer who did computer-assisted design work.
In his 70s, he visited every national park in the country, camping in his van wherever he went, the district attorney said, and also raised three "wonderful" children.
"(He) led a good and decent life and didn't deserve what happened," Kearney said.
Choppin's family members declined comment through a victim-witness advocate.
Appeal planned: Defense attorney Kevin Hoffman said he will appeal the verdict, primarily because Bradley maintains jurors never should have been allowed to watch his videotaped confession.
Bradley unsuccessfully sought to have the tape suppressed from trial, arguing police should have stopped questioning him when he asked for an attorney.
Kearney maintained Bradley eventually waived his right to counsel and voluntarily confessed. Presiding Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder ruled the videotape admissible.
"My client's prepared for a long appellate fight," Hoffman said.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.