Killing of woman in Newberry was to fulfill ‘fetish’

The men charged for the killing of a woman in her Newberry home were fulfilling a fetish for murder, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing Friday.

Edward Heck, 49, of Williamsport, is charged with hiring another man to kill his wife in August at his Willamsport home.

The body of Sonja Machele Heck, 49, was found in the bedroom of the residence, at 2501 Linn St., by her daughter who had gone to the home Aug. 17.

Much of the testimony in the hearing was given by city police investigator Edward Lucas.

Heck was taken into custody in Lebanon, Ind., where he was found hours after the alleged killing.

It was shortly after that when Lucas interviewed him. Heck told police about online communications with Kenneth Wayne Smith, 33, of Nanty Glo, in Cambria County, for about a year, Lucas said.

Smith made it known that one of his fetishes was to kill a person, he said.

Heck then suggested that his wife could be killed.

The two eventually met in western Pennsylvania and drove together to Williamsport and allegedly plotted the murder.

The plan, Lucas testified, was for the two men to go to Heck’s home and wait for his wife to arrive.

Lucas said Heck told him he paid Smith a total of $1,500.

Lucas also described the crime scene.

He found trauma to the neck of the victim along with a lot of blood with a claw hammer lying next to the bed.

“It looked like slashing and cutting to the throat,” Lucas said.

In the home’s basement, the bodies of two dogs were found, both with head injuries and puncture wounds. A pair of screwdrivers were discovered nearby.

A handwritten note also was found on the kitchen table signed by Edward Heck.

“He said he was sorry for what he did and apologized for cheating,” Lucas said.

In the note, Heck included a farewell with the words, “Don’t try to find me.”

Following testimony from Lucas, Lycoming County Chief Public Defender William J. Miele noted Smith never admitted to killing anyone. He said other necessary evidence including fingerprints traced to the knife used in the alleged killing were not identified.

“There is no evidence of Mr. Smith’s involvement in this,” Miele said.

District Judge Christian Frey ruled the charges against both men be bound over for court.

Heck faces charges that include criminal homicide, aggravated assault and cruelty to animals. Smith faces charges of criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, aggravated assault, and aggravated cruelty to animals.

Both men were remanded to the Lycoming County Prison.

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