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20051231: "John killed Mommy" PA Pottstown Serial Killer News

And he also killed the little girl who uttered those words.

And he killed Mommyís sister.

And, some five years earlier, he killed another young Montgomery County woman.

"John" now will pay for those murders with his own life.

A jury, and then a judge, sentenced convicted serial killer John C. Eichinger to the death penalty for the Good Friday stabbing deaths of 27-year-old Heather Greaves, her 23-year-old sister Lisa Greaves and Heatherís three-year-old daughter Avery Johnson.

The three were stabbed to death on Good Friday at the Greaves family home in the 500 block of Kingwood Road, King of Prussia.

Eichinger, 33, of Somers Point, N.J., also received an automatic life sentence for the July 6, 1999, stabbing death of 20-year-old Jennifer Still in her Bridgeport apartment.

Eichinger is the largest convicted mass-murderer in Montgomery County history.

"I think he should die, not only because the law requires it but because he is an evil monster who preyed on a small child and young women," said Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who personally prosecuted the case with co-counsel Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Flannery.

"The public is much better off without him in it," said Castor, who has been involved with the case since the outset when he arrived at the Greaves residence shortly after the slayings were reported.

Family members of Eichingerís victims agreed with Castor.

"In my assessment of this horrendous tragedy perpetrated by John Charles Eichinger, there is no justice that can satisfy me short of his termination and no restoration that can replace what was lost," said George Greaves, who discovered the bodies of his two daughters and granddaughter upon returning home from work on Good Friday.

"He deserves the death penalty," said Wendy Lavin, Stillís mother and the cofounder of the Montgomery County Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.

"No amount of time spent in prison could ever make up for the agony and suffering he caused Jennifer," said Lavin of Mont Clare. "He is a violent man who has no regard for life and no respect for the law."

The details of the murders were provided by statements Eichinger gave authorities, letters he wrote from prison to one of his three brothers and a journal that he kept.

Eichinger traveled from the New Jersey home that he shared with his mother on Good Friday, March 25, to kill Heather Greaves because she was entering into a romantic relationship with another man while never giving him a chance.

Arriving at the Greaves family residence in the 500 block of Kingwood Road, King of Prussia, Eichinger waited until her father left for work before going into the house to confront her.

The two argued, with Eichinger ending the argument when he began stabbing her with a large hunting knife he brought to the home.

Witnessing the stabbing was Avery, who screamed, "John killed Mommy," and racing towards the bathroom where her Aunt Lisa was.

Realizing that the young girl could identify him, Eichinger slashed her in the neck as she fled.

Hearing Avery cry out, Lisa opened the bathroom door and saw Avery on the floor of the hallway. Eichinger then attacked her, stabbing her more than 35 times and slashing her throat.Before returning to finish off Heather, Eichinger stabbed Avery once again, this time through the back with such force that the tip of the knife came through the little girlís chest.

Eichinger, who was spotted by a neighbor leaving the Greavesí home that morning in a blood-covered shirt, returned to New Jersey and later that day reported to work at the supermarket.

The lifeless bodies of the Greaves sisters and the young child were discovered late that afternoon by the sistersí father when he returned home from work.

While investigating the murders, authorities noted similarities in the location and type of stab wounds suffered by the three victims and those suffered by Still in the unsolved murder that occurred five years earlier in Bridgeport.

Authorities questioned Eichinger that night at the supermarket and, after first denying any involvement, subsequently gave statements confessing to all four murders.

 

20051213: Serial killer sent to death row PA Norristown Serial Killer News

Describing serial killer John Eichinger as an emissary of Satan and a monstrous baby killer, the families of three women and the little girl Eichinger brutally murdered dramatically confronted the killer before he was sentenced to death on Monday.

"In my assessment of this horrendous tragedy perpetrated by John Charles Eichinger, there is no justice that can satisfy me short of his termination and no restoration that can replace what was lost," said George Greaves, whose daughters, Lisa and Heather, and granddaughter, Avery Johnson, were stabbed to death by Eichinger on Good Friday.

Unfortunately, Greaves said, Eichinger is more likely to remain behind bars for many years before the death sentence is actually carried out.

"However, I do look forward to the justice promised by the Lord Almighty where the wicked and evil emissaries of Satan such as John Charles Eichinger will receive payment for their acts with eternal, unrelenting torment in hell," Greaves added.

Wendy Lavin, whose 20-year-old daughter, Jennifer Louise Still, was stabbed to death by Eichinger in 1999, said Eichinger should never be allowed to live in society again.

"He deserves the death penalty. No amount of time spent in prison could ever make up for the agony and suffering he caused Jennifer. He is a violent man who has no regard for life and no respect for the law," said Lavin, of Mont Clare, the co-founder of the Montgomery County Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.

Montgomery County Judge William R. Carpenter imposed three consecutive death sentences and a life prison sentence against Eichinger for the four killings. The judge also sentenced Eichinger to a consecutive, maximum possible sentence of eight to 16 years in prison on charges of possessing an instrument of crime and lying to authorities. The consecutive jail time will make it more difficult for a future governor to ever commute Eichingerís death sentences.

"You took the lives of four innocent persons for no reason. You are simply stated, an evil person," Carpenter told Eichinger, who showed no reaction as he was led from the courtroom in handcuffs by sheriffís deputies, headed to death row.

Eichinger, a 33-year-old former supermarket employee from Somers Point, N.J., did not address the judge or the families of the murdered women when offered the chance to speak before his punishment was imposed.

In November, Judge Carpenter convicted Eichinger of four first-degree murder charges in connection with the July 6, 1999, deadly knife attack of Still in her Bridgeport apartment and the March 25, 2005, stabbing deaths of 27-year-old Heather Greaves, her 23-year-old sister, Lisa Greaves, and Heatherís 3-year-old daughter Avery Johnson at the Greaves family residence on Kingwood Road in King of Prussia.

A jury then had the responsibility to determine if Eichinger should receive life imprisonment or death for the Greaves killings. Prosecutors used Stillís murder to support seeking the death penalty against Eichinger for each of the Greaves-Johnson slayings. The jury returned with three verdicts of death by lethal injection against Eichinger.

Prosecutors claimed Eichinger killed Still when she spurned his romantic overtures. Six years later, Eichinger killed Heather Greaves because he wanted a relationship with her when she was entering into a romantic relationship with another man, prosecutors said.

Lisa Greaves and Avery Johnson, who were at the Greaves home when Eichinger confronted Heather, were murdered because Eichinger believed they could have identified him, prosecutors theorized.

"We discovered after the case that Eichinger is the most prolific serial killer in the countyís history. Judge Carpenter certainly told him what we do to criminals like that here," said District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who sought the death penalty against Eichinger. "The sentence was just."

Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Flannery, who assisted Castor with the prosecution, asked the judge to impose the maximum possible sentence against Eichinger because "he is so purely evil that there is no doubt he deserves to die" and to serve justice to the dead and their families.

"Itís important to show how seriously we take these crimes, that they are so heinous, so brutal," said Flannery, referring to the need for the maximum sentence.

Eichinger, who was represented by defense lawyer William McElroy, stared blankly and did not react when relatives of the dead women angrily lashed out at him in court, forcing him to look at photographs of the three women and Avery during happier times.

"How could you kill little Avery, John?" Meredith Gardner Moffatt, a friend to the Greaves sisters, confronted Eichinger. "Was it because she could speak your name? You are a baby killer and by anyoneís definition, a baby killer is the lowest of the low. In hell, John, there is no mercy from God forever!"

Several friends of the victims, weeping uncontrollably, called Eichinger "a monster." Friends described Lisa as "a feisty princess" and a "strong-minded individual with a big heart" who was studying to be a registered nurse. Heather, friends testified, "always had a smile and a pleasant demeanor and a great sense of humor."

George Greaves, whose nightmare began when he returned to his Kingwood Road home after work and found the blood-covered bodies of his two daughters and granddaughter, testified he will miss "those little hugs of love" he received daily from Avery.

Greaves said he agonizes about the day when he will have to explain to Averyís half-sister, 6-year-old Melody, what happened to Heather and Avery.

"As she gets older the day yet awaits when I will have to reveal to her the true horrific details of the deaths of her mother, her aunt and her sister," said Greaves, his voice quivering with emotion. "It will be another day of many tears for both of us."

Saying she agonized for six years before finding out who murdered her only child, Lavin described Jennifer as a "loving, caring, kind and considerate person" who loved musicals and poetry.

"My daughter was a very bright, independent young woman. We will never know what she could have made of her life. She was robbed of that opportunity, her life cut cruelly short," Lavin told the judge.

 

20051104: Jury gives death sentence to serial killer PA Pottstown Serial Killer News
That was the unanimous verdict of a Montgomery County jury Thursday evening on the fate ofconvicted serial killer John C. Eichinger, who stabbed to death 27-year-old Heather Greaves, her 23-year-old sister Lisa Greaves and Heatherís 3-year-old daughter Avery Johnson on Good Friday in King of Prussia.

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Eichinger, a 33-year-old former supermarket employee from Somers Point, N.J., remained motionless while learning his fate.

Two of the 12 jurors, who deliberated for some six hours at the conclusion of the three-day sentencing hearing, were visibly upset. One juror cried as the jury foreman announced the verdict while another juror, whose hand she was holding, fought back tears.

Greaves family members and friends, as well as family members and friends of 20-year-old Bridgeport resident Jennifer Still, who Eichinger stabbed to death in 1999, gasped in satisfaction as the verdict was rendered.

Two of Eichingerís brothers, who also were in the courtroom, showed no emotion, although one of the two used his cell phone to text-message the verdict to someone. The brothers, declining comment, quickly left the courthouse afterwards.

As Eichinger, displaying a smirk, was escorted to the elevators to be returned to prison, shouts of "stupid baby killer" and "enjoy your stay in prison, coward" from family and friends rang out in the hallway. Eichinger did not respond.

County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr., who prosecuted the case with co-counsel Carolyn Flannery, said he believed that "justice was served" by the death sentences.

"I think he should die not only because the law requires it, but because he is an evil monster who preyed on a small child and young women, and the public is much better off without him in it," said Castor.

Flannery said she believed that the death sentence was appropriate in this case. She noted that the defenseís own expert psychiatric witness called Eichinger "ía coward,í and that is exactly what he is."

The jury saw through evidence that the defense attorneys, William R. McElroy and Paul A. Bauer, used in an attempt to save their clientís life and "decided Eichinger should receive the ultimate punishment -- death," Flannery said.

"He does not deserve to be here," she added.

The defense attorneys were not available for comment following the juryís verdict.

However, in his closing remarks to the jurors before they began their deliberations, McElroy had pleaded for life imprisonment, noting that living in a small cell where every movement is monitored "is an awful way of life."

"Eventually he will die surrounded by strangers," said McElroy, adding that the only time Eichinger would get out of prison would be in a coffin if life sentences were imposed.

Citing psychiatric evidence that Eichinger suffered from both a personality disorder and an adjustment disorder, McElroy told the jurors, "We have proven that thereís a hole in this manís psyche and heís sick. Is that what you want to do, start killing sick people?"

"The only personality disorder he has is that he is a killer," Castor said.

Judge William R. Carpenter, who presided in the case, scheduled Eichingerís formal sentencing for Dec. 12. Carpenter convicted Eichinger on four first-degree murder charges last month following a brief trial at which Eichinger offered no defense.

The details of the murders were provided by statements Eichinger gave authorities, letters he wrote from prison to one of his three brothers and a journal that he kept.

He traveled from the New Jersey home that he shared with his mother on Good Friday, March 25, to kill Heather Greaves because she was entering into a romantic relationship with another man. Greaves and Eichinger had never had a relationship, though they knew each other.

Arriving at the Greaves family residence in the 500 block of Kingwood Road in King of Prussia, Eichinger waited until Heatherís father left for work before going into the house to confront her. The two argued, with Eichinger ending the argument when he began stabbing her with a large hunting knife he had brought with him.

Witnessing the stabbing was Avery, who screamed, "John killed Mommy," and raced toward the bathroom where her Aunt Lisa was. Realizing that the young girl could identify him, Eichinger slashed her in the neck as she fled.

Hearing Avery cry out, Lisa opened the bathroom door and saw Avery on the floor of the hallway. Eichinger then attacked her, stabbing her more than 35 times and slashing her throat. Before returning to finish off Heather, Eichinger stabbed Avery once again, this time through the back with such force that the tip of the knife came through the little girlís chest.

Eichinger, who was spotted by a neighbor leaving the Greavesí home that morning in a blood-covered shirt, returned to New Jersey and later that day reported to work at the supermarket.

The lifeless bodies of the Greaves sisters and the young child were discovered late that afternoon by the sistersí father when he returned home from work.

While investigating the murders, authorities noted similarities in the location and type of stab wounds suffered by the three victims and those suffered by Still in the unsolved murder that had occurred five years earlier in Bridgeport. Authorities questioned Eichinger that night at the supermarket. After first denying any involvement, he gave statements confessing to all four murders.

The defense maintained that Eichinger, who suffered from personality and adjustment disorders, began to unravel when his 54-year-old father was diagnosed with Alzheimerís disease.

Stillís murder came within a month of the institutionalization of Eichingerís father. Already under stress, Eichinger lost control when Still rejected his romantic overtures and told him that she was staying with her boyfriend, the defense said.

The Greaves-Johnson murders took place some 10 days later after Eichingerís father was placed in a hospice.
 

20051103: Defense says serial killer couldnít control his actions PA Pottstown Serial Killer News

There were no pleas for mercy either by convicted serial killer John C. Eichinger or two family members who testified on his behalf

Instead, the defense is apparently relying on psychiatric evidence presented Wednesday to spare Eichinger from the death penalty for the murders of 27-year-old Heather Greaves, her 23-year-old sister Lisa Greaves and Heatherís 3-year-old daughter Avery Johnson.

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The three were stabbed to death on Good Friday in the Greaves family home in the 500 block of Kingwood Road in King of Prussia.

A Montgomery County jury of 10 women and two men today will begin deliberating Eichingerís fate -- life imprisonment or death -- after the prosecution and defense make their closing statements and Judge William R. Carpenter gives the jury the law they must use in their deliberations.

Prior to receiving treatment and medication for the severe depression he developed after his arrest, Eichinger had contemplated suicide, according to psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth J. Weiss. However, said Weiss, Eichinger was too much of "a coward" to kill himself and instead thought of sabotaging the jury against him so that they had no alternative but to come back with a death penalty.

"It was the same as Ďsuicide by cop,í wanting to die but letting someone else make that decision because he is a coward," Weiss testified.

Both Weiss and clinical psychologist Gillian Blair have diagnosed Eichinger, 33, of Somers Point, N.J., as suffering from both a personality disorder and an adjustment disorder.

"He has poor coping skills," said Blair. "He will decompensate, not be able to control himself, during times of stress."

Each time a marked deterioration in his fatherís health coincided with rejection in one of his one-sided "romantic" relationships, the former supermarket employee would lose control and murder, according to the psychiatric testimony. "The stress he was under was aggravated by his relationships," Weiss said. "He could not handle rejection during those times."

Eichinger, the oldest of four brothers, grew up in the Wayne area, and, other than a four-year stint in a parochial school, attended schools in the Radnor school system, graduating from Radnor High School with a C average, according to testimony.

Eichingerís mother testified that her husband was an active participant in the boysí lives. For example, her husband became a scoutmaster when Eichinger joined the Boy Scouts and was the scoutmaster when Eichinger became an Eagle Scout.

Then tragedy struck. At the age of 54, her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimerís disease, the mother said.

"John was very upset," his mother testified. "The situation was horrendous. The boys lost their father, just watching him die day by day."

The familyís living situation changed, with the two-salary family trying to get by on just her salary as well as everyone taking a turn watching her husband, she said. Then, in June 1999, Eichingerís father had to be institutionalized.

"John was angry, wanting him home and couldnít understand why we could no longer care for him at home," she testified.

One month later, Eichinger committed his first murder, stabbing 20-year-old Jennifer Still to death in her Bridgeport apartment. The stabbing came after Still told Eichinger she was staying with her boyfriend, according to testimony.

In March of this year, Eichingerís father was placed in a hospice. Some 10 days later, on March 25, he killed Heather Greaves, who had a new boyfriend, and then killed her sister and daughter because they witnessed the slaying, according to testimony.

Commenting on his own mental health in a journal he kept, Eichinger wrote, "I was overwhelmed. I should have asked for help but I was supposed to be the strong one, the one to come to if you were in trouble. I couldnít show signs of weakness. Who would the family turn to?"

Rebutting defense psychiatric testimony, prosecution psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Michals testified that the murders were premeditated and planned by Eichinger and were not the result of any "out of control" responses to rejection. Michals also cited Eichingerís attempts to cover up his involvement with the slayings, cleaning up at both murder scenes and giving authorities names of other possible suspects.

Michals disagreed that Eichinger suffered from personality and adjustment disorders.

 

20051001: Recanted confession dismissed by judge PA Serial Killer News
A Montgomery County judge did not buy accused serial killer John C. Eichinger's claim that he was just following supermarket policy when he gave authorities statements confessing to three stabbing deaths on Good Friday in Upper Merion and a 1999 stabbing death in Bridgeport.

"I find the defendant's testimony mistaken, inaccurate and not believable," said Judge William R. Carpenter Friday, ruling that the prosecution could use those statements as evidence against Eichinger at his trial.

"Not worthy of any belief at all was that he was following Acme policy in his dealing with detectives," said the judge.

Carpenter was referring to Eichinger's testimony Thursday claiming that he simply was complying with a supermarket policy that requires employees to fully cooperate with anyone wielding a gun.

Authorities went to the Acme supermarket in Somers Point, N.J., where the 33-year-old Eichinger was working, on the night of March 25 after a witness told them she had seen Eichinger walking down the driveway in what appeared to be a blood-stained shirt earlier that day at an Upper Merion residence where a triple slaying took place.

Found dead in the home were Heather Greaves, 27, her 23-year-old sister Lisa Greaves and Heather's 3-year-old daughter Avery Johnson, all who lived at the Greaves' family residence in the 500 block of Kingwood Road, King of Prussia.
The father of the two Greaves sisters discovered their bodies and the body of his granddaughter on March 25 when he returned from work at about 4:30 p.m.
Eichinger testified that, when he saw that county homicide Det. Richard Nilson was wearing a gun during the interview, "15 years of training kicked in. I told him what he wanted to hear. I admitted to anything he said and signed whatever he wanted me to."

During that same interview, Eichinger also confessed to the 1999 stabbing death of Jennifer Still, 20, of Bridgeport.

Authorities have said that Eichinger wanted to have romantic relationships with both Stills and Heather Greaves but that both women were involved with other men.
Eichinger, who is charged with first-degree murder in all four killings and is facing the death sentence if convicted, has been held without bail at the county prison since his arrest on March 26. He is scheduled to stand trial for the murders on Oct. 17.

Defense attorney William R. McElroy had petitioned the judge to separate the two cases and hold separate trials for the Upper Merion slayings and the Bridgeport killing.

He is now re-thinking that strategy.

County District Attorney Bruce L, Castor Jr., who is prosecuting the case, said he has not opposed the severance motion.

"Severance would be advantageous to the prosecution," said Castor.
If the two cases are severed, Castor said he would first try the Still case, dropping the death penalty in that case.

Eichinger's conviction in that case "would give me one more aggravating circumstance" when it came to seeking the death penalty for the triple murder, said Castor.
 


Copyright 1995-2005 by Elisabeth Wetsch
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