Suspect Charged in Arizona Woman’s Brutal Slaying After What Police Said He Told Them During Interview

A convicted felon out of prison on probation has been charged in the slaying of a 29-year-old Arizona woman who was stabbed 15 times, according to authorities.

Zion Teasley, 22, of Phoenix, was charged Friday with first-degree murder in connection with the April 28 death of Phoenix resident Lauren Heike on a hiking trail in the city, according to the New York Post.

Bail was set at $1 million cash for Teasley, an ex-Marine who was arrested Thursday after he already had purchased a ticket for a flight to Detroit.

Prosecutors said multiple pieces of evidence connected Teasley to the killing, including his own words.

“That’s me,” he said when shown images from a video police used to search for Heike’s killer, according to police documents in the case, per the Post.

Police asked him if he had planned to kill Heike.

“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,” he said, according to documents.

In 2020, Teasley was charged with 13 felonies that included five kidnapping charges. In a 2021 plea deal, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery and disorderly conduct. He was on probation at the time of Heike’s death after being released from prison in November.

Teasley had entered the Marine Corps in March 2019 but left the Marines three months afterward before seeing active service.

Heike put up a fight against her attacker in the random event, Phoenix homicide Lt. James Hester said, according to the New York Post.

“I believe she fought him off and she was able to get away, but her injuries were too severe for her to continue,” Hester said.

On Friday, police said DNA found on one of Heike’s shoes and cellphone evidence connected Teasley to the scene.

Police say that based on the appearance of her clothes, Heike was chased over a barbed wire fence. Her belongings left a path along the trail where her body was found, according to KSAZ-TV.

Per the Arizona Republic, surveillance video spotted Heike walking on the trail with a man walking 36 seconds behind her, according to court documents. Less than a minute later, the man is shown running away.

“The suspect ran after Lauren and then sprinted away before returning to the location where Lauren’s body was found and climbing over the barbed wire,” a probable cause statement said, according to KSAZ.

Court documents said Teasley’s former employer identified Teasley on the video based on the clothes he was wearing at the time Heike was killed, saying they recently had been stolen from the employer’s store.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.