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Teen Charged With Murdering Two Girls Over Cocaine Debt

December 7, 1995

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) _ Two seemingly wholesome, All-American teen-age girls were shot to death near Lehigh University last summer over a $400 drug debt, police said Thursday in charging an 18-year-old with the crime.

Jennifer Grider, 17, and Mary Orlando, 15, were killed in June on a stone ledge overlooking the campus, apparently as they were about to eat takeout food they had just bought.

The day before, Miss Grider had told a friend she was meeting Christopher Bissey at ``The Lookout″ and was afraid he would kill her because she owed him money for cocaine, according to court papers.

Police said they got an anonymous tip earlier this week, then talked to the friend, who told them about his conversation with Miss Grider.

The drug connection shocked Miss Grider’s mother and many in the community who had described the two best friends as clean-cut, well-behaved girls.

``I don’t want to comment on that development,″ Joan Grider said. ``As far as I knew, Jennifer wasn’t into any of that.″ Earlier, she had said, ``My first reaction was I felt sick.″

Mrs. Grider said police told her Bissey and the girls were acquainted. But she said she and her husband do not know him.

District Attorney John Morganelli said Bissey drove to the lookout with two other males, fired several shots from a vehicle, got out, fired several more, then left. He said no charges are pending against the two others.

Miss Grider, a high school senior, was trying to raise money to attend Penn State University by working at a nursing home kitchen. Miss Orlando, who Morganelli said may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, was a dance instructor who dreamed of making it big in New York.

The girls lived around the corner from each another in a working-class rowhouse neighborhood. After the murders, many neighbors sold pink ribbons to raise a $63,000 reward.

``None of us can believe they were into drugs,″ said a neighbor who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ``We never saw any sign of that around here. Never.″

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