Alec Devon Kreider
(born February 4, 1991) is a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania teenager who
was convicted for the three murders of a Manheim Township family on May
Kreider is now serving three consecutive life
sentences without the possibility of parole. A controversy remains as to
the validity of Kreider's convictions. Judge David Ashworth denied
Kreider's post-sentence challenge to his consecutive sentences. The
Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Ashworth's denial. Kreider filed a
petition under Pennsylvania's Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act on
December 8, 2009. The issues raised in the PCRA raise serious challenges
in his case.
The victims, Thomas Alan Haines (age 50), an
industrial-supplies salesman, Lisa Ann Haines (age 47), a preschool
teacher, and their son Kevin, a high school sophomore, were found on May
12 at their house in Manheim Township after their daughter Maggie, a
student at Bucknell University, was awakened by a noise in the middle of
the night, "smelled blood," and was told by her mother to go for
assistance. Alec and Kevin were in the same German class and were
reported by a fellow student to be "close buddies". Alec attended the
family's memorial service on May 19, 2007.
Murders, Police Response & Investigation
On the morning of May 12, 2007 Kreider allegedly
entered the Haines' residence without force. All three victims died from
stab wounds. The daughter, Maggie, escaped physical harm. She ran from
the home and across the street to a neighbor who called 911 for help.
Communication between the neighbor, the call taker at 911, and the
dispatcher caused extreme unnecessary delay in police response to the "unknown
disturbance". The official timeline notes that it took the first
responding officer nearly 12 minutes to arrive from a distance of 4
miles, in the middle of the night with no traffic barriers. Police say
this delay had no bearing on the survival of the victims.
The parents were found in their bedroom and Kevin was
found at the opposite end of the upstairs hallway on the floor outside
his bedroom. According to police reports bloody shoeprints enter the
parents bedroom and then to the common upstairs bathroom where a
supposed shoeprint was found on the linoleum in front of the sink.
Police presume the murderer attempted to clean up at the sink as blood
was also found therein. Bloody shoeprints appeared on lower carpeted
steps as the perpetrator exited. Blood transfer was found on the rear
sliding glass door exited to the rear of the house.
The law enforcement investigation began around 2:40
a.m. on May 12, 2007. The victims were declared dead shortly after 5
a.m. by deputy county coroners. Autopsies were performed two days later.
The day after the murders bloodhounds tracked "a strong scent of fear"
along a path that led down the hill to PA Route 501 and north to a ice
cream/fast food restaurant where the scent vanished. Police presumed the
perpetrator had a vehicle waiting and used it to escape. Despite the
tracking by bloodhounds, authorities dismissed the 1.5 mile trail they
followed in a direction opposite the alleged path taken by Kreider now
presented by law enforcement. Upon Kreider's arrest all information
associated with the bloodhounds was dismissed, as it did not match law
enforcement's new theory. Police say, "the dogs made a mistake."
During a month of intense national and regional media
coverage and speculation, including tracking by bloodhounds and an
intensive search by PSP cadets, Kreider was arrested on June 16, 2007
after his father, Timothy Scot Kreider, informed authorities that his
son had confessed to the killings two days earlier.
Police said Kreider was a friend of victim Kevin
Haines (16), a fellow sophomore at Manheim Township High School. Kreider
pleaded guilty to three counts of first degree murder and was sentenced
to three consecutive life sentences without parole on June 17, 2008. His
age prevented him from being sentenced to death due to a U.S. Supreme
Court ruling, Roper v. Simmons (2005).
A financial reward offered by the Haines family
Teen Arrested in Pennsylvania
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
LANCASTER, Pa. — A high school student broke into a Lancaster home last
month to kill a classmate and went on to slay both the teenager and his
parents, police charged Saturday.
Alec Devon Kreider, 16, of Lancaster, was arrested after his father told
police that he had confessed to the killings, Manheim Township Police
Chief Neil J. Harkins said at a news conference.
Kreider and the
teenage victim were friends and fellow high school sophomores, officials
said. Authorities described Kevin Haines, 16, as the intended target,
but declined comment on a possible motive.
"This was not a
random act," said Lancaster County District Attorney Donald Totaro, who
added that authorities believe Kreider acted alone. "He broke in with
the intent to kill."
Thomas Alan Haines, 50, Lisa Ann Haines, 47, and their son were found
stabbed to death on May 12 at their house in a leafy neighborhood in
Manheim Township. Their college-age daughter ran to get help and
Haines told police she was awakened by a noise at about 2 a.m. and went
into her parents' bedroom, where she said she found her father lying on
the bed and her mother sitting nearby. The mother quietly told her to
When police arrived
a short time later, they found the parents dead in their bedroom and the
son in a hallway.
Kreider went to the
home intending to smother Kevin, but instead stabbed him in the neck and
chest, according to a police affidavit. Thomas Haines was stabbed in the
chest and his wife in the abdomen.
Kreider, who attends
Manheim Township High School, was charged as an adult with three counts
of murder. He was being held without bail following an arraignment
Defense lawyer John
A. Kenneff said he has asked to postpone a preliminary hearing scheduled
for Wednesday, but otherwise declined comment.
confessed Tuesday to his father, Timothy Kreider, who went to police
Thursday evening. Police spent the next two days investigating before
making an arrest.
previously interviewed the suspect, who continued to go to school until
it let out for the summer.
"He was certainly
someone who had been looked at and interviewed by police," Totaro said.
The Kreider family
does not plan to comment, their lawyer said.
Haines family remains and will continue to remain in the forefront of
their thoughts and in their prayers," said lawyer Robert Byer, who
attended the news conference.
said that they found the family's back door open, and nothing taken from
the house. Kreider was also charged with burglary.
Kevin Haines was a
sophomore at Manheim Township, where he was a member of the German club
and Quiz Bowl team.
Maggie Haines, a
2005 graduate of Manheim Township, had returned home just days earlier
after finishing her sophomore year at Bucknell University.
Thomas Haines was a
salesman at Motion Industries in Lancaster, while his wife taught at
Lancaster Brethren Preschool.
coming and going at the Kreider home, about two miles from the crime
scene, declined comment Saturday.
A police forensics
unit visited the home Friday night, neighbor Alan Isacson said. He did
not know the family, but said he was relieved by the break in the case,
which had led police to advise residents to lock their doors.
"Any time a murder
is solved, it's good news," the 37-year-old Isacson said.
Teen gets life in family slaying
June 18, 2008
LANCASTER (AP) — A teenager who wrote in his journal
about having a compulsion to “kill people” was sentenced Tuesday to life
in prison after pleading guilty to fatally stabbing a classmate and the
classmate’s parents in a middle-of-the-night attack inside their home.
Alec D. Kreider, 17, displayed no remorse and offered
no explanation for the grisly murders of Tom and Lisa Haines and their
16-year-old son Kevin, despite emotional statements by family members
and the judge’s repeated offers to let Kreider to speak on his own
“He is a deviant, cowardly triple murderer,”
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman told Judge David
Ashworth shortly before he sentenced Kreider to three consecutive life
terms without parole — one for each count of first-degree murder to
which he pleaded guilty.
Kreider’s lawyer described his client as “a child”
and urged Ashworth to make the sentences concurrent.
“He’s going to spend not only the rest of his
childhood behind bars, he’s going to spend the rest of his life behind
bars,” said David Blanck of the county public defender’s office. “He
knows that.” Kreider, a friend and 10th grade classmate of Kevin Haines
at Manheim Township High School, was wearing dark clothing and wielding
a hunting knife with a four-inch blade when he entered the victims’
suburban Lancaster home through an unlocked door around 2 a.m. on May
12, 2007, Stedman said.
Kreider, who lived with his mother about a 10-minute
walk away from the Haines’ home, attacked the victims in their bedrooms
— first the parents and then Kevin, Stedman said.
Maggie Haines, Kevin’s sister and a Bucknell
University student who was at home that night, awoke to the sounds of a
struggle in Kevin’s room and rushed to her parents’ room, where her
father was lying on the bed and her mother was sitting up. Maggie
escaped and ran to a neighbor’s home to call the police.
Kevin Haines “put up a significant struggle for his
life,” but finally succumbed to 11 stab wounds and 15 other cuts,
Stedman said. His throat had been ripped out.
The horrific nature of the crime shocked this
community in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, and fears that a
killer was on the loose became an unwelcome part of life as the police
investigation stretched into weeks. Sales of home security systems in
the area spiked in the weeks following the slayings, said Allen Leed,
the lead investigator for the Manheim Township police.
Kreider was finally arrested after he confessed to
his father about a month after the murders. He also confessed to a
fellow inmate at Lancaster County Prison, where he has been held since
his arrest. He has never confessed to police, but their case was
buttressed by an assortment of physical evidence, including the murder
weapon, shoes that left matching footprints in the home, and DNA.
Kreider wore an open-collared white shirt, black
trousers and black shoes to court. Outwardly calm, he gave terse answers
to the judge’s questions during the two-hour proceeding and did not make
eye contact with members of his family or the victims’ family.
Stedman read excerpts from a journal that Kreider
wrote after the slayings, in which he expressed a “want/need to kill
people” and admitted having “murderous thoughts.”
When the inmate who heard Kreider’s cellblock
confession asked Kreider whether Kevin Haines was scared during the
attack, “he laughed and said ’very,’” Stedman said.
Three members of the victims’ family testified about
the pain of their loss and how the murders have disrupted their lives.
Among them was Maggie Haines, who appeared in a video recording that was
played in the courtroom on a screen about 10 feet from Kreider.