Prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona are seeking the death penalty for a man accused of murdering a woman on a hiking trail. Zion Teasley, 22, allegedly stabbed 29-year-old Lauren Heike multiple times, leading to her death, according to court documents. The incident occurred in April, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed a notice of intent on Friday to seek the death penalty for Teasley.
Heike’s body was found on the Reach 11 trail in Phoenix, Arizona, and Teasley was arrested several days later by the Phoenix Police Department. The man, who has a criminal record dating back to 2020, was taken into custody on May 4 after allegedly laying low in a nearby apartment complex. Teasley has pleaded not guilty to the homicide of Heike but was indicted on a first-degree murder charge back in May.
According to reports, Heike was chased and then stabbed 15 times in the back and chest, indicating a violent and brutal attack. Teasley was previously enlisted in the Marines, however, he did not complete the training. The victim’s parents have released a statement expressing their support for the prosecutor’s decision to seek the death penalty. They acknowledged that the journey through the criminal justice system is just beginning but remain determined to seek justice for their daughter. The family has also asked for privacy while they navigate through this difficult time.
Teasley’s criminal record includes finishing a three-year jail sentence for robbery with a deadly weapon, and DNA evidence has linked him to the crime. The victim’s family is hopeful that their daughter will receive the justice she deserves despite the painful loss they continue to endure.