Court rejects murderer’s appeal request

By on July 13, 2015

Pennsylvania Superior Court on Friday rejected a petition from Ryan M. Schannauer to appeal his Dec. 8, 2014 murder conviction.

The court also approved a petitioned from Shannauer’s attorney to withdraw as counsel of the convicted murderer of Ashley Kline.

Schannauer, now 21, and his co-conspirator, Adam S. Lynch, from Adamstown, avoided a possible death penalty sentence when prosecutors agreed to accept a plea deal with Schannauer and Lynch which netted the men consecutive 20 to 40 years sentences.

Ryan Schannauer

Ryan Schannauer

The court rejected Schannauer’s argument that the sentence was illegal. The petition suggested that Schannauer’s attorney, Christopher Lyden, provided ineffective assistance “where he was working on several death row cases during the course or representation of the present case.”

It also questioned whether Lyden provided ineffective assistance by failing to provide Schannauer with a copy of discovery documents.

“…Schannauer has no meritorious issues to pursue on appeal. Consequently, we grant counsel’s petition to withdraw as counsel, and we affirm Schannauer’s judgment of sentence,” the court ruled.

Schannauer and Lynch, lured their friend, Kline, from her home in Berks County to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Clay Township, under the pretext of taking her to a movie.

While in Schannauer’s vehicle, a violent struggle occurred between Kline and her kidnappers. Ultimately, the vehicle was driven to a remote section of the wildlife area, and Schannauer assisted Lynch in forcibly removing Kline from the vehicle.

Ashley and Mike Kline

Schannauer further helped Lynch in forcing Kline to walk into the woods and assisted Lynch as he repeatedly stabbed Kline, according to court documents.

Schannauer then poured gasoline over Kline’s body, and Lynch set her on fire while she was still alive. Schannauer and Lynch returned on Jan. 8, 2014 and poured more gasoline on Kline’s body in an effort to conceal her identity and destroy evidence.

Kline’s body was eventually discovered by hikers on Jan. 12, 2014, and her identity confirmed by dental records.

In exchange for the Commonwealth dropping the death penalty, Schannauer agreed to enter a guilty plea to the charges of first-degree murder, arson, abuse of a corpse, conspiracy to abuse of a corpse, kidnapping, and conspiracy to kidnapping.

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