Case of wife's homicide to move forward after more than a year

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Following more than a year of delays, a Springfield Township man will head straight to county-level court and a potential trial on allegations he strangled his wife to death.

Ronald Kachinski, 77, was scheduled to be arraigned into the York County Court of Common Pleas on Monday after a judge approved a request to bypass a preliminary hearing in district court.

The hearing, though, wasn't held, and officials say he was not arraigned. The hearing was rescheduled for a new date in a few months, according to court documents.

Kachinski is charged with first- and third-degree murder and a felony count of strangulation as the case moves forward.

Ronald Kachinski

He was arrested Dec. 21, 2021, after Pennsylvania State Police troopers responded to a call he made and found his wife, Sandra Anderson, dead in their home in the 11000 block of Alta Vista Way.

When investigators interviewed him, Kachinski allegedly said he woke up that morning, felt “something wasn’t right in his head,” and he “snapped,” police said in a criminal complaint.

Kachinski then allegedly attacked his wife by grabbing her neck. She escaped his grip, and he followed her through the house before getting hold of her again, according to his account in the complaint.

He allegedly strangled Anderson for about one minute until she died. Then he waited another minute before calling 911, he reportedly told investigators, according to the complaint.

Kachinski has been held at York County Prison without bail since his arrest.

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He was scheduled to go before District Judge Lindy Lane Sweeney for a preliminary hearing three different times between January 2022 and Jan. 19. But the hearing was postponed each time, and the next date had been set for May 18, court documents show.

Preliminary hearings in the district courts are part of the standard route for criminal cases.

The district judges basically hear arguments and decide whether evidence for the charges is sufficient to go before a jury at trial in Common Pleas Court.

Preliminary hearings aren’t held in every case, though. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will sometimes waive them when they agree evidence is sufficient for a case to move forward.

In Kachinski’s case, a miscellaneous matter was also considered throughout 2022, and a court document shows that information was sealed.

With that going on, the York County District Attorney’s Office asked last month to move the case to Common Pleas without holding the preliminary hearing in district court.

Judge Kathleen Prendergrast gave permission to bypass the hearing in an order signed Feb. 6.

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Kyle King, a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office, said the case was transferred due to the numerous postponements. The move was part of a procedural agreement by both sides, he said.

Kachinski's attorney, Clasina Houtman, didn't respond to calls seeking comment on the situation.

The preliminary hearing in May was canceled, and Kachinski was scheduled for a formal arraignment on Monday, court documents show.

The arraignment and a status hearing for the case in county court are now set for July 3.

Note: This story was updated from its original version to show the arraignment hearing was not held March 27 as previously reported.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.