Murder suspects could face death penalty

By on February 26, 2014

Accused murderers Adam Lynch and Ryan Schannauer could face the death penalty.

The Lancaster County District Attorney would not rule out that possibility following their appearance before Justice Tony S. Russell in Ephrata Monday.

Police charged Lynch, 21, and Schannauer, 19, with the gruesome murder of Robesonia resident Ashley Kline, 23, who was dumped and set on fire in Clay Township while she may have been alive.

Though both men list residences in Berks County, they grew up in the Cocalcio area, attended Cocalico High School, and were well-know by East Cocalico Police and District Justice Nancy Hamill.

Lynch and Schannauer showed up to waive their preliminary hearings before Russell. No bail is offered to the suspects who face a litany of charges including homicide, abuse of a corpse and arson.

Prosecutors lodged two new charges Monday, adding kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

The case now moves to Lancaster County Common Pleas Court.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said he’ll decide soon on whether to go for the death penalty.

“Yes, we are strongly considering filing notice of the death penalty and will make a decision in the very near future,” Stedman said. “The case is particularly disturbing and may well warrant the ultimate penalty.”

The men offered conflicting stories while implicating each other as having stabbed Kline before dousing her with gasoline and lighting her on fire while she was still alive on Dec. 30 in Clay Township.

Stedman said the pair also admitted to returning to burn the body again Jan. 8, at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area,.

Only the use of dental records made it possible to identify Kline’s body found near Laurel Drive, just west of Woodcock Drive.

While Lynch and Schannauer both claim it wasn’t premeditated, Stedman said the men brought gasoline and a knife in Schannauer’s white 1990 Buick Century used to transport Kline’s body to Middle Creek.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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