An 84-year-old Pennsylvania man is accused of beating his wife to death after an argument over money for veterinary care for their cat. 

Barton Seltmann was arrested Tuesday after police found his wife, Margaret Seltmann, 85, dead in the couple’s home in Lower Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Chief Richard Bell said in a joint statement.

The couple were arguing “about money for veterinary care of their cat when the fight turned physical,” the statement said. “Evidence found on scene indicated that the victim was struck multiple times in the head while lying on the kitchen floor.”

Barton Seltmann called 911 himself to report an “unresponsive female,” authorities said. When they arrived, police officers found the man on a rear porch with “blood on his hands, face and clothing,” according to authorities.

NBC Philadelphia reported that Barton Seltmann initially told 911 operators he believed his wife was dead and that someone “beat her.” Later, he said he beat his wife to death after she grabbed a knife and threatened to kill him, the station reported.

Seltmann said he grabbed a chair and pushed its legs into his wife, according to an affidavit of probable cause. He told investigators his wife then fell back and struck her head on the floor, NBC Philadelphia reported.

Seltmann said he didn’t see a knife in his wife’s hand but still repeatedly punched her and then used a candle holder to hit her in the head, the station reported. Seltmann said his wife stated, “You’re killing me,” according to NBC Philadelphia.

Investigators found a small kitchen knife under Margaret Seltmann’s body, according to the station.

A forensic pathologist with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office determined that the woman’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, and her manner of death was ruled a homicide, the district attorney’s office said. 

Seltmann was arraigned on first- and third-degree murder charges, online court records show. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Dec. 5. Court records did not list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Antonio Planas

Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

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