The Lancaster teen who plotted to kill his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend had planned to shoot him, cut his body into pieces with an ax and then dispose of the body in a river, deputies said Tuesday.
Lancaster County deputies on Sunday charged Joseph Ray Hegler, 19, with attempted murder and attempted kidnapping after deputies received an anonymous tip that Hegler had been planning for weeks to kill another man, the sheriff’s office said.
According to a sheriff’s report released Tuesday, Hegler planned to kill the man Sunday night. Hegler told the anonymous police source that he had been planning the murder for at least two weeks.
Hegler planned first to place sticks or branches in the would-be victim’s driveway, the report states, and when the victim got out of his car to move the branches, he would approach him with a gun and force him to drive to a remote spot off Tabernacle Road. There, he was going to “have a talk” with the victim before shooting him, the report states.
He planned to dismember the body with an ax and toss the body parts into a river or pond, using concrete blocks to weigh them down, the report states. The only part of the plan Hegler had not figured out, deputies say, is what he would do with the victim’s car.
The anonymous source told deputies Hegler had a .22-caliber pistol, but “got rid of it” because he did not like “the way it operated,” the report states. Hegler had been looking for another pistol, but he eventually opted to use “whatever he had” to carry out the crime. What Hegler had, police say, included a machete, a night stick, gloves, a baton, baseball bats, cleaning supplies and bags of concrete.
The bags of concrete were in the back of a red car parked at Hegler’s trailer, anonymous source told deputies. When officers went to Hegler’s ex-girlfriend’s home, the report states, she told them he had showed up at her school with flowers in a book bag.
“He just walked into the school as though he was a student and went to her classroom to give her the flowers and walked out undetected,” the report states.
The girl’s grandmother told deputies that Hegler took the break-up hard and had threatened to kill himself.
The girl’s current boyfriend – Hegler’s alleged intended victim – told deputies he and Hegler went to school together and were friends until he started dating Hegler’s ex-girlfriend a month ago. They had not spoken since.
The boyfriend told deputies that several nights earlier, he had found sticks in his driveway. Deputies told him the sticks might have been a “test” by Hegler to see if that part of his plan would work, the report states.
The anonymous source told police Hegler wanted to meet with him near S.C. 522 near the Buford community. Deputies stopped Hegler while he was driving a red truck near the Buford Crossroads convenience store.
Deputies found several weapons in his trunk, including a five-gallon can filled with gasoline and several blunt objects. They later found several bags of concrete mix in a car belonging to Hegler’s brother, who police say did not know what Hegler planned to do.
Hegler is being held at the Lancaster County Detention Center without bond.