Sandy Charles: A schizophrenic teen with a horror movie fixation lures a little boy into the woods. What happens next is the stuff of nightmares.
Paula Cooper: The girls said that they were there for Bible lessons so 78-year-old Ruth Pelke gladly let them in. It was the last mistake she’d ever make.
Louis Hamlin & James Savage: Two pre-teen girls take a well-traveled shortcut through the woods. On this day,there are predators lying in wait.
Michael Hamer: Teased, bullied, isolated from his peers, Michael began to construct a disturbing fantasy world. Then, one day, those fantasies got real.
Sergey Gordeyev: Sergey had been a straight-A student all his life. The B that his Geography teacher had graded him was an insult. Sergey wouldn’t stand for it.
Shawn Green: A dispute between classmates escalates into a deadly confrontation, played out before stunned passengers on a crowded London bus.
Mathieu Moulinas: He was troubled child, afflicted by terrifying thoughts. Still, no one truly saw the monster that lurked beneath. No one saw until it was too late.
Killer Kids Volume 7
Thomas and Lisa Ann Haines were found in their blood-spattered bedroom, savagely stabbed to death. Kevin was lying in the hall just outside his room, also felled by the assassin’s blade. He’d put up a valiant fight for his life, sustaining several deep cuts to his hands and arms as he tried to fight off his attacker. In doing so, he’d sustained over twenty knife wounds and also had his throat slashed. It was not in vain. In all likelihood, his brave struggle had saved his sister’s life.
As Maggie Haines explained to the police, it was the sound of a struggle from her brother’s room that had woken her. She’d then smelled blood, she said, and that had forced her from her bed. She’d run to her parents’ room where she found her father sprawled across the bed, her mother sitting upright against the headboard. Lisa Ann Haines was badly hurt, but she nonetheless whispered to her daughter that she should get out of the house and go for help. That was when Maggie made a run for it.
Maggie Haines never saw the attacker and so she was unable to provide the police with a description. But there were other clues in the house. Bloody footprints crisscrossed the floor, running from the master suite to an upstairs bathroom, where the killer had probably gone to wash up. The prints also tracked down the stairs and out through the back door. Where had the killer gone after making his exit? A team of bloodhounds was brought in to help the police answer that question. The dogs quickly picked up a scent and led their handlers down the hill towards PA Route 501 and then north toward the parking lot of a fast food restaurant. Here the trail went cold, leading investigators to conclude that this was where the killer had parked his car before proceeding to the Haines residence on foot. He’d then committed the murders before returning to his vehicle and driving away.
It was a neat theory but one that threw up a whole new rash of questions, most pertinently regarding motive. If the police hypothesis held true, then this was no random crime. Whoever had done this, knew the Haines family, knew where they lived, knew how to get into their house. The family had been deliberately targeted.
But that made no sense. Tom Haines and his family were the most unlikely people in the world to inspire someone to bloody murder. They were decidedly ordinary, a happy collective who kept a low profile but were nonetheless well-liked in the area. Tom worked as an industrial supplies salesman; his wife was a nursery school teacher; Kevin was a normal high school sophomore. They did not have an enemy in the world. And yet someone had butchered them in a crime that seemed intensely personal. Who would have done such a thing? And why?
The police did not know the answers to those questions, and as the investigation floundered, panic started to gain a chokehold in Manheim Township. Wild rumors began to circulate, rumors that the Haines family had been slaughtered by a psycho killer who was still lurking in the area, waiting for an opportunity to strike again. As is often the case in these situations, there was a run on locks and security devices. Sales of guns and ammunition went through the roof. The community seemed to be bracing itself for another atrocity.
And then, out of nowhere, the case was suddenly resolved. On June 16, 2007, a man named Timothy Kreider called the police and said that he knew the identity of the killer. He then offered up a suspect no one would ever have suspected, his 16-year-old son, Alec. According to Kreider, Alec had confessed the murders to him two days earlier. He’d been mulling over the information since then before deciding that he had to do the right thing and give up his son.
On the face of it, Alec Kreider made a very unlikely murder suspect. He was a 10th grade student at Manheim Township High School, a member of the German club and of the school’s Quiz Bowl team. He was a model student with a clear disciplinary record. Certainly, he’d never given the police reason to call on him. Until now. Now he was confessing to a brutal triple homicide, and there was plenty of evidence to back it up. In Kreider’s closet, the police uncovered a knife that would turn out to be the murder weapon; shoes that matched the bloody imprints found at the crime scene; and items of clothing spattered with the blood of all three victims. It was enough to arrest Kreider and to charge him.
So why had Alec Kreider, exemplary student and all-round regular guy, suddenly decided to try his hand at murder? That question has never been satisfactorily answered, although there was one cryptic clue, hidden in Kreider’s journal. He’d written that he “despised happy people.” Perhaps he’d been jealous of Kevin Haines’s contented home life, which he’d witnessed first-hand on the occasions that he’d visited the Haines residence. Kreider never confirmed or denied the “jealousy” motive, but his own domestic situation was less stable. His parents were divorced, and Alec lived with his mother. It is, in any case, the closest investigators ever got to uncovering the “why” of the murders.
Kreider was far more forthcoming when it came to describing how the murders had been committed. He said that he’d gone to the Haines residence that night with the intention of suffocating Kevin with a pillow. He’d entered the home at around 2:00 a.m., gaining access through an unlocked back door. Somehow, he’d found himself in the master bedroom, and it was then that he’d decided to kill Mr. and Mrs. Haines, using a razor-sharp hunting knife that he’d brought with him. Thomas Haines had died first, killed almost instantly by a knife wound to the heart. Then Kreider attacked Lisa Ann Haines, stabbing her several times in the abdomen before she could cry out. He’d then proceeded to his friend’s room where he killed Kevin, inflicting 25 wounds and also hacking through the teenager’s throat.
Alec Kreider went on trial for three counts of first-degree murder in mid-2008. With his confession, backed up by substantial forensic and DNA evidence, he had very little option but to plead guilty and accept the consequences of his actions. Those consequences amounted to three consecutive life terms with no possibility of parole.
Life without parole is a harsh sentence to impose on a teenager. Alec Kreider’s life had barely begun, and now he was looking at the possibility of seven decades, perhaps longer, behind bars. However, relief was at hand in 2012, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sentences of life without parole were unconstitutional for juvenile offenders. It meant that Kreider would have another day in court, a new sentencing hearing, the possibility that he might someday be free. Unfortunately for those close to Kreider, that day would never come. On January 20, 2017, he was found hanging in his cell at SCI Camp Hill in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. His death was ruled a suicide.
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