By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 75-year-old Northeast Philadelphia man has been ordered held for trial in the murder of his 74-year-old wife. According to authorities, the man initially tried to blame a neighbor for the killing (see related story).

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During a hearing today, a Philadelphia homicide detective detailed Louis Hartdegen’s initial statement and the subsequent investigation that led to Hartdegen’s arrest.

Homicide detective James Burns says Hartdegen initially claimed that he and his wife Judith — married 52 years — had been attacked during an invasion into their Castor Avenue home, and blamed an innocent man.

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“He actually does blame the neighbor,” recalls Philadelphia prosecutor Joanne Pescatore. “They bring people over and he identified somebody and says, ‘This is the person that did it.’ And then through great police work and homicide detectives going through everything, they go back and ask him more questions and determine that he is the actual one that did it.”

According to Det. Burns, Hartdegen then admitted that he and his wife had been arguing over missing money when he hit her in the face and later hit her again. In his confession, Hartdegen says, she fell on the bed and he put a pillow over her face and choked her, then posed his wife to suggest a sexual assault and called police.

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