Rope in throat murder suspect found incompetent for trial

ROXBOROUGH - August 1, 2012

The diagnosis was declared during a status hearing for 50-year-old Geraldine Cherry.

Action News has learned Cherry has been ordered to undergo 60 days of psychiatric treatment at Norristown State Hospital.

Cherry is charged with the murder of her neighbor, 70-year-old Kathleen McEwan.

McEwan died at her home at the Parker Apartments in the 300 block of Parker Avenue on June 10th.

Initially, officials thought McEwan died of natural causes.

However, morticians at the Bryers Funeral Home in Willow Grove, who were preparing McEwan's body for the funeral, found a rope and a candy wrapper in her throat.

"During that time when we went to close her mouth, her tongue was sticking out a little. So I pushed her tongue back in and the rope popped right out," said funeral director Brian Hurst. "I thought maybe it was just something she was chewing on or something. I went to move it, had some resistance to it, stopped, realized something was wrong and called the Philadelphia Medical Examiner."

There were no signs of foul play, so authorities released her body to the funeral home.

But the medical examiner would later rule her death a homicide after they found a 10-inch rope, similar to what might be used for drawstring pants or a hoodie. They also found a candy wrapper stuffed down her throat.

After further investigation, homicide detectives arrested Cherry.

Officials say her case will be revisited on October 17th.

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