HARRISBURG - A man convicted of murdering his estranged wife and two daughters on Christmas Eve 2002 is asking a Pennsylvania judge to expunge charges that he raped his daughters.

Ernest R. Wholaver Jr. argues that the charges should be erased because he was acquitted of them during the 2004 trial in which he was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Monday. He is serving three death sentences in Waynesburg Prison in Greene County.

Wholaver was convicted of murdering his wife, Jean, 43, and their daughters, Victoria, 20, and Elizabeth, 15.

In a response, Dauphin County First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo said the charges were vital to the prosecution's theory of Wholaver's motive for the slayings. Authorities say Wholaver killed them because he wanted to prevent his daughters from testifying that he had repeatedly raped them. - AP