Trial Ordered for Teen Accused of Killing Parents
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A 16-year-old accused of shooting his parents to death as they returned from work listened impassively as his older brother testified Monday about finding their bodies.
Jeffrey Howorth sat expressionless as his 20-year-old brother, Stephen, told how he found the bloodied bodies of Sue and George Howorth, still in their overcoats, by peeking through a window of their locked home in Macungie Township on March 2.
``I saw my mother laying across the floor,″ Stephen Howorth testified. Sometime after he and a neighbor called police, he noticed another body: ``I screamed, `Oh my word _ not my Dad too!‴
Three others testified at the preliminary hearing before District Justice Charles Crawford, who ordered Jeffrey Howorth held without bail. No trial date was set.
Youths over 14 charged with capital crimes are automatically tried as adults in Pennsylvania unless their lawyers request a juvenile court trial. Howorth’s lawyer has declined to say whether he will do so.
A first-degree murder conviction could bring a penalty of execution or life in prison. A juvenile conviction would set Howorth free at age 21.
Prosecutors have not divulged a motive. But they say Howorth left behind several rambling notes, one of which was read in court by Trooper Linda Goeke Hoy.
``I told you I would do it Steve. You can’t say I didn’t warn you,″ Hoy read from the note, which authorities said was addressed to Stephen Howorth.
George Howorth, 46, and Sue Howorth, 48, both died of multiple gunshot wounds caused by a .22-caliber rifle and a shotgun that were missing from the family’s home, authorities said.
Both weapons were recovered when Jeffrey Howorth was arrested near St. Louis two days later near his mother’s car, which had run out of gas on a highway shoulder, police said.
The Howorths were killed one day after two skinhead brothers were arrested in Michigan in the slayings of their parents and brother in nearby Salisbury Township. Authorities say there is no link between the two crimes.