“Man Accused of Murdering Woman on Hiking Trail Could Face Death Penalty” – Subject: Prosecutors Seeking Death Penalty for Accused Trail Murderer

PHOENIX, Arizona – Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Zion Teasley, 22, accused of murdering 29-year-old Lauren Heike while hiking in Phoenix. Teasley allegedly stabbed Heike 15 times in the back and chest. Heike’s body was found on the Reach 11 trail near Scottsdale Road and Mayo Boulevard in April. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed notice of intent on December 29 to seek the death penalty for Teasley.

Teasley was arrested five months after finishing a three-year jail sentence for robbery with a deadly weapon; court documents show that he has a criminal record dating back to 2020. Teasley has pleaded not guilty to the homicide of Heike but was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in May. He was taken into custody on May 4 by the Phoenix Police Department after hiding in a nearby apartment complex.

Heike’s family has stated that they “support the decision” to seek the death penalty for Teasley. They are determined to ensure that their daughter “receives justice” and that they “will someday be reunited with Lauren.” The family has asked for privacy and prayers during this difficult time.

Teasley, who was briefly enlisted in the Marines, did not complete the training, according to a Marine Corps spokesperson. The case is ongoing and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has been contacted for comment.