A Westmoreland County woman conspired with her two housemates to kill her husband, burn him and rip out his teeth so his body would be harder to identify, officials said.
They planned to carry out their attack on the morning of Christmas Eve, but their plans were thwarted when a worker at Cedar Creek Park spotted one of the three with the intended victim, who was bleeding heavily, and called police.
Adam Thompkins, 29, was released Wednesday from Allegheny General Hospital, where he was treated for cuts to his face, including one near his eye. His trio of alleged attackers remained in the Westmoreland County Prison Thursday accused of attempted homicide and other crimes.
“The detectives have suspicions of what the motive is,” said Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck. But he did not go into detail, saying that is still under investigation.
All three suspects are listed as living at the same address — a home on Eureka Hill Road in Jacobs Creek, a section of South Huntingdon, purchased by Mr. Thompkins two years ago.
The suspects — Mr. Thompkins’ wife, Kimberly Thompkins, 26; Daryith Stevens, 18; and Robert Crosby, 24 — all worked at a Burger King in Rostraver at some point, said Mr. Peck, who did not know how they initially met.
On Monday, the trio met at that Burger King and “conspired to kill Adam Thompkins,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.
On Christmas Eve morning, police said, Ms. Thompkins drove her husband to the park while the other two waited in a separate car. When they arrived, Mr. Crosby stabbed Mr. Thompkins with a knife given to him by Ms. Stevens and someone brought a gas can “to burn the victim’s body after he was killed,” according to the affidavit.
Ms. Stevens also brought “a change of clothes and pliers to pull the victim’s teeth so he could not be identified,” police wrote.
But before they could complete their plan, between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m., park crew leader Frank Backstrom, 52, passed through the area and saw two men, one of whom appeared to be bleeding. They were standing in a grassy area near a pavilion.
“He was bleeding pretty good from the head,” Mr. Backstrom said of Mr. Thompkins. “He did not talk to me at all.”
Mr. Backstrom said a man, later identified as Mr. Crosby, told him Mr. Thompkins had fallen. Mr. Backstrom asked if they wanted him to call for help and said Mr. Crosby told him not to worry, they were going to take Mr. Thompkins to a hospital.
“They loaded him up in the van and they took off,” Mr. Backstrom said. “The more I thought about it, I thought I might get in trouble if I don’t tell the county police. I thought if he fell and got hurt, he might sue the county.”
So Mr. Backstrom called the park police and went back to see if he could find the area where Mr. Thompkins had fallen. Instead, he said he found a bloody 3-inch blade.
Shortly after park Patrolman Edward Bricker arrived, Mr. Crosby and Mr. and Ms. Thompkins returned to another pavilion a few hundred yards away from where Mr. Backstrom said he initially found them. Ms. Stevens arrived there a short time later, police said.
Patrolman Bricker noted in the affidavit, filed with Westmoreland County Detective Richard Kranitz, that Mr. Thompkins was “covered in blood” from wounds to his head and was unable to talk to police. He was flown by helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital.
Patrolman Bricker called for assistance from the county detectives and together they interviewed each suspect at a maintenance building in the park.
“All three individuals were giving conflicting statements,” according to the affidavit.
Mr. Thompkins later corroborated information given by the suspects.
Ms. Thompkins, Mr. Crosby and Ms. Stevens face a Jan. 6 preliminary hearing on charges of attempted homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and aggravated assault.
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @LizNavratil