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CRIME Couple accused of attack



Published: Sat, July 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- A couple who police said were living in deplorable conditions in Little Beaver Township were charged Thursday with attempting to injure police officers who were trying to take their children to Lawrence County Children Services.

District Judge David Rishel set bond at $150,000 for 57-year-old Charles Burke, who faces charges of attempted homicide, kidnapping, aggravated assault against a police officer, recklessly endangering another and simple assault. He also is charged with a firearms violation, receiving stolen property and altering and obliterating a firearm.

Judge Rishel set bond at $75,000 for Burke's common-law wife, 44-year-old Ruth Ann Betlyn, who faces charges of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another and simple assault.

The couple had an address listed for Alter Street in Carnegie, Pa., but Pennsylvania State Police were alerted by Children Services that the couple and their three children were homeless and living in deplorable conditions in a camper off state Route 351.

When state and township police officers met with Burke, he tried to shoot officers using a 9-mm handgun, according to reports.

When the weapon malfunctioned, Burke tried to retrieve a revolver. He was subdued before he could fire, though he severely bit two officers during the process, reports said.

Reports also show that one of the weapons was reported stolen and the other had an obliterated serial number.

Betlyn faces assault charges because she allegedly attempted to hit officers with a large piece of metal before being subdued.




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