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Maricopa County DA seeks death penalty against Zion Teasley

Byusanewscart.com

Dec 31, 2023

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An Arizona district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty for Zion Teasley, the prime suspect in the Lauren Heike murder case.

Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) confirmed the news in an email to Fox News Digital on Saturday.

Teasley, 23, pleaded not guilty to the homicide in May. He was indicted on a single count of first-degree murder.

Heike, 29, was fatally stabbed on a northwest Phoenix trail near her residence on April 28. Authorities say that she had around 15 stab wounds, along with injuries on her hands and forearms.

LAUREN HEIKE MURDER: ARIZONA MAN INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY STABBING 29-YEAR-OLD HIKER TO DEATH

Zion Teasley

Booking photo of Zion Teasley taken Friday, May 5, 2023, provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Teasley is facing first-degree murder charge following the death of Lauren Heike on an Arizona hiking trail. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

Based on evidence from the location, investigators believe she was chased over a barbed wire fence. Her belongings were scattered around the scene.

Teasley was arrested after police found video surveillance, cellphone evidence and DNA evidence that linked him to the crime. 

ARIZONA HIKER LAUREN HEIKE STABBED 15 TIMES, LIKELY WITH POCKETKNIFE: COURT DOCS

Lauren Heike

Lauren Heike, 29, was found dead along a community hiking trail in Phoenix. (Phoenix Police Department)

In a Friday statement that was shared with Fox News Digital, Heike’s family said they were in support of the MCAO’s decision and “grateful.”

“We know that our journey through the criminal justice system is just beginning, but we will be there every step of the way to ensure that Lauren receives justice,” the letter read. “As we make our way through our first Christmas season without Lauren, our hearts continue to break over her life being cut short by the violent actions of another.”

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Lauren Heike

Heike’s mother and father remembered her as a beautiful and sweet person. (Phoenix Police Department)

“However, we want Lauren to be remembered for the beautiful and kind person that she was,” the statement added. “We have hope and find joy in the knowledge that we will someday be reunited with Lauren. We ask for your prayers and for privacy at this time.”

Fox News Digital’s Stephen Sorace and Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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