Beaver County man held for trial in wife's 1993 drowning

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A Beaver County man accused in the 1993 drowning death of his wife was held for trial today.

Jon Lang, of Industry, appeared wearing a prison uniform before District Judge Joseph L. Schafer at the Beaver County Courthouse this morning. He had been held in the Beaver County Jail without bail.

Mr. Lang has been charged with homicide in the June 18, 1993, death of his wife, Debbie. He is accused of using a long-handled pool skimmer to drown her in the pool at their home in Patterson.

The Beaver County district attorney's office filed charges in November after a man came forward as a witness earlier this year.

Jamie Darlington, 35, was 16 years old when he said he witnessed Mr. Lang assault his wife, push her into the pool and used the skimmer to force her under and away from the edge, he testified.

Mr. Darlington testified that for nearly 20 years he didn't tell anyone what he saw and came forward to clear his conscience following the birth of his son. During those years, he had been convicted and jailed on various charges in Beaver County and in California.

Mr. Lang's attorney, Bill Difenderfer, called Mr. Darlington's account "extremely shaky" and said that he was likely trying to make a deal with prosecutors because he was facing a burglary charge in California about the time he came forward.

"I think his testimony is preposterous, but I'll go into those details in the trial," Mr. Difenderfer said.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede.


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