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Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

One of the four victims of a mass stabbing in Hopewell Township is still in the hospital nearly three months after the attack, authorities say. Another victim had part of a knife lodged in her body when she was stabbed.

The suspect, Keith Kretzer, of Middle River, Maryland, will head into York County’s Court of Common Pleas while charged with two counts of criminal homicide and two counts of attempted homicide.

Investigators alleged the 32-year-old followed a compulsion to stab his girlfriend, Christine Fousek, and her family at a home along Firebox Court the evening of Aug. 22.

Keith Kretzer

Fousek, 34, and her 5-year-old daughter, Rylee Reynolds, were killed. Two other people — Jacqueline Fousek, 63, and Joseph Fousek, 28, — were injured before police said Joseph Fousek wrestled the knife out of Kretzer’s hand.

Following his arrest, Kretzer allegedly told police some outside force compelled him to pick up the knife while he was fixing dinner in the home’s basement that evening, according to charging documents.

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Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Jonathan Confer testified during a preliminary hearing Monday that Southern Regional Police who initially responded to the scene, shortly after 7:20 p.m., found the victims on two different floors of the split-level home.

Jacqueline and Joseph Fousek were found on the upper floor along with signs of a struggle, according to Confer. The two were airlifted to WellSpan York Hospital, where Confer said Joseph Fousek was treated for a wound to his upper sternum.

Jacqueline Fousek was stabbed in the stomach, and her throat was apparently injured. Confer testified she’s still in a medical facility’s care.

Christine Fousek and her daughter were found dead on the home’s lower level.

Autopsies, Confer said, showed Christine Fousek was stabbed around her head and throat. Rylee had multiple wounds to her head and back.

“A part of the weapon was found inside of Rylee,” he also testified. The remainder of the knife was found at the scene.

Confer said he couldn’t remember the total number of stab wounds to each victim.

When asked about the timeline, he said he didn’t know the order of the attacks, except that Jacqueline Fousek was stabbed before Joseph Fousek.

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

Kretzer was in the front yard of the house when Southern Regional Police arrived, and he looked wet and disheveled and had blood on his jeans and hands, Confer said. The trooper arrived at the scene about a half hour later, and the state police took the lead on the investigation. He noted the first officer who responded had his body camera running, and the video was reviewed as part of the investigation.

When Kretzer was interviewed at the state police barracks, he allegedly admitted to the stabbings, Confer said.

“He said he f----- up, and he said that he stabbed them,” Confer testified.

The surviving victims also implicated Kretzer.

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Under defense questioning, Confer said Kretzer seemed coherent — he didn’t seem dazed, spoke intelligibly and didn’t have smells of alcohol or marijuana on him. Confer said he couldn’t remember whether Kretzer’s pupils were dilated.

Confer also said he didn’t think Kretzer was under the influence of those substances, nor did he see any such paraphernalia in the house.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Erin Kraska objected to the questioning. She argued it angled toward raising a suppression or challenge of Kretzer’s statement, as well as his mental state after the stabbings, and the preliminary hearing wasn’t the appropriate forum for that issue.

Kretzer’s attorney, Matthew Sembach, argued his questions intended to look at Kretzer’s state of mind.

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The two sides also argued over Sembach’s questioning of the attack timeline. He said it went to exploring a potential self-defense route.

After hearing the testimony, district court Judge Laura Manifold decided to advance the homicide case to the common pleas court system.

She scheduled Dec. 14 as the date to formally arraign Kretzer.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.