Spring Grove man accused of killing neighbor now facing trial
Accused killer Raymond Heck Sr. leaves the office of District Judge Thomas Reilly after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing on homicide and related charges. (Video by Liz Evans Scolforo)
A Spring Grove man is now facing trial for allegedly creeping into the home of neighbor Samantha Stein and fatally stabbing her last month.
Stein, 24, of the first block of North Main Street, was found dead shortly after 7 a.m. Dec. 16 by her fiance when he came home from work, according to charging documents.
She suffered numerous stab wounds, Southwestern Regional Police have said.
Raymond William Heck Sr. appeared before District Judge Thomas Reilly on Wednesday, Jan. 10, and waived his right to a preliminary hearing on his charges of homicide, burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.
Heck slouched in his chair and appeared nonchalant as he answered Reilly's questions about whether he understood his constitutional right to have a preliminary hearing.
Heck answered all the questions with either "yeah" or "nope."
He did not acknowledge a York Dispatch reporter's question as he was led to the transport vehicle of a local constable who then drove him back to York County Prison.
Heck, 59, of 37 N. Main St., remains in prison without bail.
His defense attorney, first assistant public defender Clasina Houtman, declined comment Wednesday.
Senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy also declined comment Wednesday, as did the lead investigator in the case, Detective Sgt. Lisa Layden of Southwestern Regional Police.
Bad intent? Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean has told The York Dispatch that Heck claimed he killed Stein because she interrupted him burglarizing her home.
But Bean said evidence shows he apparently went into her home with ill intent.
"What we do know for sure is that it appears his intent was to possibly cause some harm," Bean said. "We know that because he took the knife with him."
There are other indicators of Heck's plans as well, according to the chief.
"We know that he cut the wires to the outside cameras to the victim's residence (before breaking in)," he said. "That would contribute to the idea that it was a planned attack."
Heck wore gloves and disguised his appearance, Bean said. Police said surveillance-camera footage from nearby showed a man walking into Stein's home then later leaving with a box and a large trash bag.
Befriended neighbor: Stein — who had one child and two stepchildren — had befriended Heck months ago, and he would occasionally walk her to a nearby bus stop, charging documents state.
They visited each other's homes and communicated frequently, police said.
But something changed.
"At some point Samantha took steps to limit or block communications with (Heck)," documents state. "But he persisted in contacting her."
The two weren't close friends, according to Bean.
"She pulled back from the relationship, and then this happened," he said.
Stein and Heck were neighbors for about eight months to a year, according to Layden.
"(Heck) liked Samantha and indicated that he hoped for something more than friendship between them," Layden wrote in charging documents.
Evidence seized: A police search of the area near Heck's home yielded a knife and items believed to be stolen from Stein's home during the fatal attack, police said.
Charging documents indicate Heck stole a PlayStation, two cellphones, a lockbox and a webcam from Stein's home, items with a total value of less than $1,200.
"A bag of clothing was discovered further southwest than the location where the knife was found," Layden wrote. "The bag contains dark clothing (that) ... appears to be blood-stained and similar to the clothing observed on the footage of a person entering the victim's home."
After being arrested, Heck told investigators he went into Stein's home to steal property but had to "cut her" after "inadvertently" waking her up, charging documents allege. Heck claimed Stein struggled with him after finding him in her home, police said.
Bean said Heck lived close enough to Stein that he would know her comings and goings and would have known she was home in the early morning hours of Dec. 16, when police said he crept into her home and killed her.
Stein's child and two stepchildren were upstairs when the homicide occurred, according to the chief. All three escaped injury, he said.
Chief Greg Bean of Southwestern Regional Police gives details about the investigation leading to an arrest in the murder of Samamtha Stein.
Other crimes? Police have said it's possible Stein's homicide could be related to several crimes that happened over the past three months.
"We had an arson at the residence next to this and several criminal mischiefs," Sgt. Jamie Stalcup has said.
That mischief includes recent incidents of vandalism to the victim's cars, police said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.