Murder Suspect Indicted for Brutal Stabbing of Hiker in Daylight Trail Attack Faces Death Penalty

Phoenix, Arizona – Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Zion William Teasley, a 22-year-old man charged with stabbing 29-year-old hiker Lauren Heike 15 times in a random, daylight attack. The parents of the victim, Lauren Heike, expressed their support for the state’s decision against Teasley. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) has filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty for Lauren’s murder, according to a statement by Jeff and Lana Heike. Teasley was seen on surveillance footage walking in the same direction as Lauren Heike on April 28 at the Reach 11 trail in Maricopa County, Arizona.

According to police statements, Teasley was observed walking towards the trail entrance located at 68th Street and Princess Drive. Minutes later on surveillance footage, Heike was last seen going west on the trail, walking in the direction of where she was found dead. The suspect headed in the same direction, going out of view. Heike was found dead in a desert area behind a resident’s home on April 29. Teasley’s last known employer said that Teasley was recently fired for being aggressive toward female co-workers and he was suspected of stealing merchandise, according to documents. Shown a surveillance picture of the suspect, management identified the person as Teasley and said he was wearing clothes he had stolen from the store.

After finding him, police took Teasley to headquarters and showed him a still picture from video surveillance of the suspect in the area of the murder. Teasley identified himself as the person in the photograph, officers said.

Teasley claimed to know Heike and stated he wanted to look like her. He admitted she was attacked, but struggled to admit she was murdered. He could not recall if he ever met her, and insisted that he would never plan to kill another person.