Debt May Have Lead To Slayings

A man who told police that he killed his wife and sister described the victims as ill and in pain and also said that he had financial difficulties trying to care for them.

Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper says Richard Lutkehaus, 76, of Hamilton said his wife, Betty Jean, 67, was suffering from severe heart disease.

He said his sister Ruth Case, 87, had Alzheimer's disease.

Piper says Lutkehaus also told authorities that he had too many medical bills.

Piper says he does not accept any suggestion that the deaths were mercy killings. The prosecutor says Lutkehaus didn't use the terms mercy killing but attempted to describe the situation as if in his mind he had no other choice.

Lutkehaus was arraigned yesterday on two counts of aggravated murder in Hamilton Municipal Court. He will be represented by a court-appointed attorney.