Zion William Teasley recently released convicted felon stabbed Lauren Heike along Arizona hiking trail no less than 15 times. Had been fired from store for being aggressive towards females and stealing.
A convicted felon is accused of fatally stabbing an esthetician after stalking her along an Arizona hiking trail. News of the suspect’s arrest follows revelations that he had recently been fired from his retail store job for being aggressive toward female employees as well as for stealing.
Zion William Teasley, 22, was arrested at his Phoenix area home five days after the body of 29 year old woman, Lauren Heike, was found along a local hiking trail.
Teasley who had previously served only three years jail for armed robbery and kidnapping was identified as a suspect after the man’s DNA was found on his victim’s shoe.
Stalked and hunted victim
Corroborating DNA evidence was surveillance footage which showed Teasley following his female victim for some time on April 28.
Heike’s body was discovered in an area just off the Route 11 trail, with police believing that she was ‘chased through or over a barbed wire fence’.
Teasley was then caught on camera returning to the area where her body was discovered and climbing back over the fence.
Teasley was arrested at a Scottsdale home, less than a mile away from the crime scene.
A probable cause affidavit also revealed that the suspected killer had recently been fired from his job at a nearby sports store for being ‘aggressive’ to female employees and stealing.
His DNA was found on a shoe that Lauren discarded as she attempted to scale the barbed wire fence.
Police were able to track down Teasley because of a sample in their system from a prior felony conviction.
Only served 16 months for violent crimes following plea deal
Heike was stabbed no less than 15 times, in the back and chest as the woman frantically sought to flee her pursuer. The victim was also noted having defensive wounds on her hands.
Teasley was released from prison in November after being sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct and robbery in June 2020, AZ Central reported.
Teasley who was sentenced in 2021, went on to only serve 16 months jail after prosecutors agreed to drop certain felonies in a plea deal.
Appearing in court on Friday morning, the man was charged with breaching his probation, as well as one count of first-degree murder – meaning he could face the death penalty if found guilty.
The convicted felon dropped out of the Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego after just four months, first entering the training in March 2019.
‘recently terminated for being aggressive toward female employees’
A Marine Corps spokesman confirmed that he had separated from the training in June 2019, and his arrest documents confirmed that he was not on active duty.
Teasley was identified from surveillance footage by his probation officer, as well as his former employer.
They told officers that he was ‘recently terminated for being aggressive toward female employees’ as well as stealing from the store according to the Dailymail.
Phone data also placed Teasley in the same area as Lauren before her death, moving in the same direction as the footage.
His employer also confirmed that he carried a pocket knife, which police say is consistent with the murder weapon.
When arrested by officers the suspected murderer said: ‘There’s no freaking way I’m here for a sex crime. I haven’t been with anyone for a long time.’
The probable cause affidavit also stated that during his interview, he spoke about ‘growing up as a Christian, and his internal struggle with his own sexuality.’
It added: ‘Zion was concerned about the salvation of his soul due to his thoughts’.
Had bought a ticket for Detroit set to depart mere hours before arrest
He also identified himself as being the man in the footage, before telling officers he recognized Lauren from the news and ‘wanted to look like her’.
Teasley claimed that he was ‘walking to a nearby movie theatre’, and admitted to officers he knew Lauren was attacked but ‘struggled to admit she was murdered’.
When asked if he had planned to kill Lauren he said: ‘I am definitely not the person who plans to kill another person. If I was going to do something like that it wouldn’t be premeditated. ‘
During his first court appearance he was given a $1million cash bond for the violation, but was remanded into custody with no bond in relation to the murder charge.
Prosecutors told the court that there was ‘photographic evidence’ linking him to the crime, adding that people who knew him identified him as the person in the surveillance footage released by police.
Lawyers confirmed that DNA evidence also linked him to the crime, as well as phone evidence, and ‘circumstantial’ evidence.
The court heard that several people he works with knew he had a knife which they say was ‘consistent with the murder weapon.’
Prosecutors also confirmed that he was a flight risk, and had bought a plane ticket which was meant to leave for Detroit on Thursday evening.
Lauren had previously worked as an esthetician for Admire Medical Aesthetics in Washington before moving to Arizona.
Teasley’s charge comes a day after Lauren’s father, Jeff Heike, paid tribute to his daughter saying: ‘She was my little girl. I’m really going to miss her.