PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Brentwood man, facing charges in connection with the death of an elderly Squirrel Hill man who police say was beaten over the head, was in court today.
District Judge David Barton called it one of the more depraved cases he’s ever heard, and then ordered Jason Kuhns, 35, to stand trial in the death of 90-year-old Cuddy Briskin.
The only witness on the stand today was a detective who testified that Kuhns confessed to the crime.
Detective Margaret Sherwood testified that Kuhns told her he broke into the home of his wife’s grandfather looking for money to help satisfy his drug habit, and that he chose to do it on a Monday believing that Briskin wouldn’t be in his home. But he was startled to find Briskin there, and armed with a tire iron allegedly beat him.
Kuhns reportedly said he didn’t want to look at Briskin’s face. Briskin’s head was covered when his body was found.
The defense claims Kuhns’ alleged confession was coerced. However, prosecutors deny that.
“I think there are a lot of people out there probably that think about doing burglaries and they think nobody’s supposed to get hurt. Just going to go into an empty house and take some valuables. Well, all too often when people burglarize a home, there’s a homeowner there, and sometimes that homeowner is a frail, older person,” said prosecutor Mark Tranquilli. “This is what happens when people go into other people’s homes without permission.
“They had every opportunity in the world to make a recording and they didn’t [because] all they did is have a handwritten confession, so-called confession made by a detective, not by him,” defense attorney Jim Ecker said. “Not written by him, not recorded by him. Nothing by him.”
Kuhns now faces trial on charges including homicide, robbery and conspiracy.