Ex-Bridgewater councilman gets trial in 1979 slaying

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BRIDGEWATER, Pa. - A former Bridgewater Borough councilman charged in connection with the strangulation death of a woman in 1979 will stand trial.

Gregory Scott Hopkins, 65, was arrested earlier this year by state police in connection with the death of Catherine Walsh, 23. Investigators said Walsh was found strangled in her Monaca home on Sept. 1, 1979.

Investigators said Walsh had been at a restaurant in Center Township the night before and that her parents found her on her bed the next morning.

Police said a scarf had been tied around Walsh’s neck, and her hands were tied behind her back.

Officers got a break in the case in 2010 when they were able to use new technology to match Hopkins' DNA with DNA found at the crime scene. Police said his DNA matched the DNA that was found on the rope that was used to bind the victim's hands.

"That's a compliment to the Pennsylvania State Police in the maintaining of evidence so we could have the ability to do that once science caught up," said Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh.

Both sides had a lot of support in court on Thursday, but what stood out was the testimony of Walsh’s father, Peter Caltury, a 90-year-old man who could finally get some justice.

“Thank you,” said Caltury. “We need your prayers.”

Hopkins’ attorney, Jim Ross, said his client's DNA at Walsh’s house is no bombshell, saying the two were seeing each other back then.

Ross said Hopkins is innocent, and he’ll prove it.

“This is a man who has lived here all his life,” said Ross. “He is a known businessman. People like him don't do that.”

According to criminal complaint, police questioned Hopkins the day after Walsh's death. Police said the pair had a relationship, but at the time police did not have enough evidence to charge him.

Hopkins is being held in the Beaver County Jail.