Search warrants in Kudlach killing show look at electronics

A detailed inventory of electronic devices has been logged regarding a local killing.

Alois Kudlach, 51, faces first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon and intercepting communications counts stemming from the shooting of his wife, Nuria, in their College Township home last year.

That case is set to go in front of a jury Aug. 15, just two weeks short of a year from the day Kudlach allegedly told police that his wife advanced on him with a knife and he shot her in self-defense.

The case has been continued several times over the past 11 months. Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller has attributed the delays to unavoidable issues with the evidence in the case as her office awaited evidence to be returned from labs.

Court documents show that some evidence has only recently been recovered or pursued.

According to an affidavit of probable cause in a warrant request filed on June 13, some electronic devices were recovered from the Kudlach’s Gregor Way residence in August 2015.

“Multiple pieces of evidence were seized. In addition, multiple electronic devices, one of which was an HP Elitebook ...” wrote Det. Ralph Ralston. “The laptop was subjected to forensic analysis by the PA Office of Attorney General Technical Services Unit and was found to be encrypted.”

The encryption stopped the forensic search for evidence on that computer.

But Ralston said that in recorded calls from the prison, Alois Kudlach, who has been incarcerated at Centre County Correctional Facility since his arrest, directed son Alex to contact “the defendant’s former direct supervisor at Philips Ultrasound,” asking him to retrieve personal documents from the company’s server.

In Ralston’s affidavit, that supervisor is identified only by his initials. Ralston said the supervisor did locate some “minor personal information” on the server, which was turned over to Alex Kudlach.

Ralston argued in his request that this confirmed Alois Kudlach used the HP laptop, a work computer, for personal information.

On June 7, Ralston contacted the Philips Ultrasound technical support provider who subsequently was able to decrypt the computer and provide access. Ralston said in his document that nothing was seized as a result of that search.

District Judge Carmine Prestia signed the search warrant. The return of service was filed the next day,

A previous return of service and inventory was filed June 9. The listed “date of search” covered everything from Aug. 30 to May 12. That document shows a Samsung smartphone, a pink iPhone, the HP laptop, two MacBook laptops, an iPod and assorted computer parts. A second page lists “electronic files and OAG report on data.”

In March, Parks Miller said that numerous items were being awaited from the labs. At that time, defense attorney Karen Muir said the items in question were bullet fragments, casings and the gun.

In November, a different search warrant sought DNA information for Alex Kudlach, who was present at the home the day of the shooting.

Muir has said since that time that she was ready to proceed to trial. Kudlach is claiming self-defense.