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Two Men Kill Four, Then Commit Suicide

February 26, 1987

VIRGINVILLE, Pa. (AP) _ Two men given to Rambo fantasies openly discussed murder as a solution to their domestic problems, but an intimidated girlfriend said she didn’t go to police until the two had gunned down four people and committed suicide.

John Ritchie, 25, of Auburn, and Leon Warmkessel Jr., 23, of the Reading area, were found dead early Wednesday in snowy woods 75 miles northwest of Philadelphia, a shotgun and .357-caliber Magnum near their bodies, police said. ...............CORRECTIVE Sent February 28, 1987 FOLLOWS....................

An Associated Press story Thursday about two men given to Rambo fantasies who killed four people and themselves incorrectly identified a woman who discussed the incident in an interview with the New York Daily News.

The woman said Friday her name is Jenny Weller, not Jenny Scholeck. She was also incorrectly identified as the live-in girlfriend of John Ritchie, one of the two men. She said she never lived with Ritchie. .............................................................................

Earlier, they killed two couples 15 miles apart in slayings police said were spurred by a love triangle and a custody dispute.

″I couldn’t stop them,″ said Jenny Scholeck, Ritchie’s live-in girlfriend. ″When they drove off, I knew what they were going to do and I couldn’t do anything about it.″

Their first victims, Ritchie’s estranged wife, Angela Ritchie, and her boyfriend, Joseph Paduch, both 25, were killed in their sleep in Orwigsville, said State Police Capt. William J. Regan.

The men, wearing fatigues and carrying a survival knife, then drove to Virginville, broke into a home and gunned down Steven Paul, 31, and his wife, Linda, 37.

Warmkessel’s wife, Marion, once was married to Paul, and the two were fighting over custody of their 7-year-old son, police said.

The killers then drove a mile, parked the car, smoked several cigarettes and walked into the woods, where they shot themselves, Regan said.

Regan said both men had reputations for emulating the movie character Rambo.

″These two killers fantasized in Rambo fashion. They were dressed in fatigue clothes, boots, carried knives, guns, just like the movie character,″ he said.

Ms. Scholeck, 21, told the New York Daily News that the two men talked about murder Tuesday after spying on Ritchie’s wife.

″He discovered the other man was inside by looking through the window and hearing them talking. He got really upset and Lee said, ‘Do you want to do it right, Buddy?’

″John said, ‘I am into it, let’s go.’

″I said I would call the police. They warned me not to. ... At that point, I didn’t believe they would do it. John said if I call the cops, he would tie me up and blow himself away in the car,″ Ms. Scholeck told the newspaper.

Ritchie and Warmkessel stopped at their mothers’ homes to pick up guns, she said. Before he left, Ms. Scholeck said, Ritchie ″asked me to tell people the full story because he didn’t want them to think he was crazy.″