Lawyer for mass-stabbing suspect demands airing of evidence, delaying case

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

A last-minute change of plans delayed the advance of the case against a Maryland man on charges he allegedly stabbed his girlfriend and her daughter to death.

The homicide case against Keith Kretzer, 32, was scheduled to go before a district court judge for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Kretzer is accused of the stabbing deaths of Christine Fousek, 34, and her 5-year-old daughter, Rylee Reynolds, at a home along Firebox Court in Hopewell Township on Aug. 22. Kretzer faces two counts of homicide and two counts of attempted homicide.

At the start of Tuesday's proceeding, Kretzer's attorney told the court he wanted to discuss the evidence first instead of agreeing to hold the case over for trial at the county level. That will result in an airing of key evidence before any potential trial date is set.

Keith Kretzer

Investigators alleged Kretzer told police he was fixing dinner in the home’s basement when he claimed some force compelled him to pick up a knife. He then allegedly followed the compulsion to attack the family.

Police say he also stabbed and injured two other people in the house, Jacqueline Fousek and Joseph Fousek, before Joseph wrestled the knife out of his hand. Kretzer allegedly “snapped out of it” and fled the house. He was arrested a short time after that.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Erin Kraska said she was initially under the impression that she and Kretzer’s attorney, Matthew Sembach, would stipulate — or agree — to the case details and have the case automatically advance to York County Common Pleas court.

Kraska said Sembach contacted her earlier in the morning and indicated he wanted to proceed with the hearing.

More:Aunt's free speech case over Dante Mullinix's death nears an end

More:'I want him to know': Long custody battle preceded pregnant woman's slaying

More:More details emerge in case of alleged Subway restaurant assault: police

Sembach told the court that, after thinking about the case over the weekend, he didn’t feel comfortable with that course of action because of the seriousness of the charges.

“I don’t think I would be doing client any service by stipulating to this hearing,” Sembach said.

However, Kraska argued that a key witness for the case, a police investigator, wasn’t able to attend the hearing Tuesday because he had been called to appear at a trial in another courtroom at the same time.

The crime scene at 17 Firebox Court in Stewartstown on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022.

Because her witness was unavailable, Kraska said, she couldn’t proceed with the hearing.

District Judge Laura Manifold agreed to postpone the hearing for a later date when all the necessary evidence can be presented. The new date will be determined soon, she said.

>> Please consider subscribing to support local journalism. 

Prior to the stabbing incident, Kretzer was accused in three domestic violence complaints in 2012, 2014 and 2017 in Maryland. Protective orders were granted against him in those cases, court records show.

The victim in the 2017 case alleged Kretzer drugged and raped her. A victim in 2012 accused Kretzer of stalking and threats of murder.

More:Man charged in mass stabbing had history of domestic violence allegations

In the complaint from 2014, that victim also alleged Kretzer made threats of violence.

Kretzer did not appear to have been convicted of criminal charges stemming from those complaints.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.