HATBORO, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia man is accused of stabbing to death a neighbor with whom he had long feuded over the accused man's loud snoring that could be heard through a wall connecting their homes, authorities said Friday.
Christopher James Casey, 55, was charged Thursday with causing the death four days earlier of Robert Wallace, who the coroner found had been stabbed several times.
Wallace, 62, removed a screen from a window in Casey's home and opened the unlocked window as Casey was eating dinner Sunday, and after a verbal confrontation Casey stabbed him in the chest with a large, military-style knife, according to Upper Moreland Township Police and Montgomery County prosecutors.
Police said Casey told them Wallace had not been menacing him or threatening him when Casey stabbed him in the doorway of Casey’s home. They had been having “personal issues” for the past year and a half — prompting several police calls — over Wallace's complaints about his snoring, Casey told investigators during an interview Sunday night at Abington Hospital.
After about 20 minutes of speaking through the window, Wallace appeared to calm down and wanted to shake hands and offered to help pay for nasal surgery to alleviate Casey's snoring, Casey told police, according to the affidavit. Casey unlocked his front door, holding a knife and stun gun under a blanket.
“Casey described Wallace as being very ‘volatile’ ‘very strong,’ ‘he’s angry’ type of person,” police wrote in the charging documents. “Casey said he did not believe Wallace’s intention of ‘try to work this out’ and ‘shake hands’ and try ‘to fix this situation’ was genuine. As a result, Casey decided to ‘surprise him’ by stabbing Wallace with a knife.”
Police responding to Casey's 911 call found Wallace about 50 feet (15 meters) from his home. He later died at a hospital. Casey required hospital care for what police called a self-inflicted and accidental stab wound on his leg. The window screen was outside on the lawn and the window open when police arrived. There was blood inside and outside the home.
Casey told emergency dispatchers that Wallace “broke my window,” police said in an affidavit. “I attacked my neighbor. He came to attack me.”
Casey was charged with third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and possessing instruments of a crime. He remained jailed Friday with bail set at $1 million. No lawyer was listed for him in court records. Prosecutors and police could provide no information about whether Casey has a defense lawyer. Efforts to reach a family member who might be able to comment were not successful.