James Greer Jr.
James Greer Jr.

An autopsy has failed to find a cause of death for a 28-year-old alleged killer found dead Tuesday morning in his York County Prison cell.

Thursday's autopsy at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown found no physical trauma on the body of Harrisburg resident James Earl Greer Jr., York County Coroner Barry Bloss said.

The autopsy was unable to find a medical reason for Greer's death, according to Bloss.

"It's a mystery at this point," he said. "There's nothing to indicate what caused his death."

Toxicology tests are being performed to see if they can shed light on what caused Greer to die, the coroner said.

Waiting on tests: Bloss said he expects it will take four to six weeks to get results from those tests.

While his office waits on those results, state police will continue to investigate, Bloss said.

Greer was found unresponsive in his prison cell about 3 a.m. Tuesday by prison staff. Medical staff were summoned and performed CPR on Greer but were unable to revive him, a York County spokesman has said.

He was pronounced dead at the prison.

Greer was charged with homicide in Dauphin County for allegedly strangling former girlfriend Heather Bechtel, 32, in her Lower Paxton Township Township home on Dec. 7.

Possible suicide attempt: Lower Paxton Township Police said that after Greer killed Bechtel, he called several people from her home, where he used to live before they split up.


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Those people called 911 and responding officers found Greer still in the Rawleigh Street home.

Greer told responding officers he had swallowed some cleaning solutions in what police described as a possible suicide attempt, and he was taken to an area hospital before being arraigned on his homicide charge, police said.

Moved to York: Greer was being held in York County Prison at the request of Dauphin County officials because someone either related to or associated with Bechtel works at the Dauphin County Prison, police said.

Greer was being represented by the Dauphin County Public Defender's Office in the homicide case.

Public defender Ari Weitzman declined comment about Greer's death.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.