Pa. Man, 84, Accused of Killing Wife, 85, in Argument Over Cat’s Veterinary Bill

"There was no warning that this kind of thing could happen," the accused's brother Ron Seltmann told WPVI-TV

<p>Montgomery County District Attorney</p>

Montgomery County District Attorney

An 84-year-old Pennsylvania man was arrested after being accused of beating his wife to death in their home, according to the Montgomery District Attorney’s Office.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said in a press release that Barton Seltmann, 84, was arrested on murder charges after his wife, Margaret Seltmann, 85, was found dead in their home in Lower Pottsgrove Township.

Officials said in the press release that on Tuesday at about 2:30 p.m. officers received a call from Barton about “an unresponsive female.” An affidavit of probable cause obtained by NBC10 Philadelphia claimed that he told 911 operators that someone had beat his wife and she was bleeding from the head and that their kitchen had been ransacked.

When police arrived at the home, they said they found Barton on the rear porch with “blood on his hands, face and clothing.” He was transported to the hospital for a hand injury, according to the press release.

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Police said they found evidence at the scene that indicated Margaret had been “struck multiple times in the head while lying on the kitchen floor,” and the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office also determined that her cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and her manner of death was homicide.

“A joint homicide investigation by Lower Pottsgrove Police and Montgomery County Detectives found that Margaret and Barton Seltmann were arguing about money for veterinary care of their cat when the fight turned physical,” the District Attorney’s statement said.

Barton told investigators that during the argument, his wife grabbed a knife and threatened to kill him, so he used a chair to push her down to the floor and repeatedly punched and hit her with a candleholder, according to the affidavit of probable cause obtained by NBC10 Philadelphia and local ABC station WPVI-TV.

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He told investigators that his wife told him, “you’re killing me,” before she “went to sleep,” according to NBC10 Philadelphia, citing the affidavit. Police also noted in the affidavit, per WPVI-TV, that they found a knife under Margaret’s body and broken pieces of the candleholder at the scene.

Barton was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder and third-degree murder and is being held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility without bail. A preliminary hearing for the incident is scheduled for Dec. 5.

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Barton’s family told WPVI-TV that the couple had been married for over 30 years and that they had seemed happy. However, they also noted that Barton had been experiencing memory issues recently.

"In the last five or six weeks, Margaret said [Barton] was suffering from dementia, he wasn't remembering things," Barton’s sister-in-law Sandy Seltmann told the outlet. "Like if he went somewhere, he wasn't remembering where he was at and things and she was concerned about it."

"There was no warning that this kind of thing could happen. None," his brother Ron Seltmann added. "This just tore us apart.”

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