PHOENIX (AP) — An ex-convict has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the death of a woman who was attacked from behind and stabbed 15 times while walking on a desert trail in northeast Phoenix last month, authorities said Monday.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced the grand jury indictment and said it is reviewing the case to determine if prosecutors will pursue the death penalty for 22-year-old Zion William Teasley.
It wasn’t immediately known Monday if Teasley has a lawyer yet who can speak on his behalf.
Phoenix police said the body of 29-year-old Lauren Heike was found April 29 near a hiking trail about a half-mile from her home, but it’s believed she was killed the day before.
According to court documents, Heike had defensive wounds on her hands and arms from fending off her attacker, and she may have also been chased over or through a barbed wire fence.
Homicide investigators believe the attack was random and without provocation after Teasley allegedly followed her on the trail. But a possible motive for the murder remains unclear.
Teasley was arrested May 4 after police said they used DNA evidence collected at the scene plus surveillance video to connect him to the case.
Arizona Department of Corrections records show Teasley served 16 months in a state prison in Eloy for armed robbery and other felonies and was released in November 2020.s