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Raymond Searles Jr. sentenced for deadly stabbing in Reading

Joseph Ashford killed in March

Man sentenced for deadly stabbing

READING, Pa. - A man responsible for killing another man in downtown Reading earlier this year has learned his fate.

Family members say they are glad a killer is off the streets but they say it will never bring them closure.

Joseph Ashford will not be spending this holiday season, nor any other, with his family again.

That's because Raymond Searles Jr., admitted to killing the victim in downtown Reading earlier this year.

The crime happened in broad daylight in the 400 block of Penn Street.

That day, Searles wouldn't speak with police, but he did speak with me when I asked him a simple question.

"Why did you stab the victim?"

"Because he tried to kill me. He threatened to kill me in a bar and when he swung the knife at me I snapped out."

Originally, Searles claimed it was all done in self defense, but Wednesday, that all changed when he pleaded guilty in court.

But that guilty plea takes away none of the grief for the victim's family.

"It hurts me every day. I walk through my hallway. Because every day that I walk through my hallway I look on my wall and all I have is two pictures and an urn," said Samantha Sanders.

This crime happened back in March and during all the time that has passed, the victim's family says Searles never tried to reach out to them and say that he was sorry that he had taken someone else's life.

"No, no, not at all. I told you when I was there, and I listened to the things that he'd done to him," said Sanders.  "My cries went out, and he just grilled me down as he was being escorted out that court room."

In a statement the district attorney said "I'm satisfied with the results. Based on the facts of the case, the plea and sentence were appropriate under the facts and circumstances of the incident."

After Searles pleaded guilty, he was swiftly sentenced to 18 1/2 to 40 years in prison.

"Don't want to hear from him at parole time, because I'll be there," said Sanders.  "If I'm still alive I will be there."

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Allentown, PA 18102




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