Suspect in death of Lauren Heike indicted on first-degree murder charge

May 22, 2023, 11:58 AM | Updated: May 24, 2023, 6:25 am

Zion William Teasley is accused of killing Lauren Heike. (Photos via Maricopa County Sheriff's Offi...

Zion William Teasley is accused of killing Lauren Heike. (Photos via Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Phoenix Police Department)

(Photos via Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX – The man accused of killing Lauren Heike while she was going for a walk near her north Phoenix residence last month has been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder, authorities said Monday.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said it was reviewing the case to determine if prosecutors will pursue the death penalty for Zion William Teasley.

“Every first-degree murder case is assessed to determine if the state will seek the death penalty,” Jennifer Liewer, chief of staff for Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, told KTAR News 92.3 FM in a statement. “The office reviews mitigating and aggravating factors in each case that are outlined in state law. The county attorney has not yet made a decision in this case.”

Heike, 29, was found dead in a desert area near a hiking trail around 10:45 a.m. on April 29. She lived near 66th Street and Mayo Boulevard, about half a mile from where she was killed.

Teasley, 22, was arrested May 4 after police used DNA evidence collected at the scene and surveillance video to connect him to the scene.

Teasley was booked into jail on a murder count and also was being held on a probation violation. A grand jury indicted him on May 15.

An attorney entered a not guilty plea on Teasley’s behalf at an arraignment hearing Tuesday. The trial is scheduled to begin in January.

“My heart goes out to the victim’s family and the pain they are experiencing losing their loved one in this manner,” Mitchell said in a press release. “Our office will work diligently to seek justice for Lauren and her family.”

Police said she was walking near 65th Place and Libby Street on April 28 when she was attacked, but her body wasn’t spotted until the next day.

She was stabbed 15 times and may have been chased over or through a barbed wire fence before she was killed, according to court records.

According to corrections department and court records, Teasley was released from prison Nov. 13, 2022, after serving time as part of a plea deal for multiple felonies.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A band performs during an Arizona Bike Week motorcycle rally in Scottsdale, Arizona...

Kevin Stone

Yelawolf, George Thorogood, Everclear round out Arizona Bike Week concert lineup

The concert schedule for Arizona Bike Week 2024 in Scottsdale is set, with Yelawolf, George Thorogood and Everclear joining the lineup.

7 hours ago

A man was shot and killed in northwest Phoenix on Feb. 23, 2023. (Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Polic...

Police seeking suspect after man shot dead in northwest Phoenix alley

The Phoenix Police Department is looking for a suspect after a man was shot dead in a northwest Phoenix alley on Thursday evening.

11 hours ago

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is eyeing a big expansion on-site. (VRX Studios/Justin Kriel)...

Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess eyes expansion of guest rooms, restaurants, event spaces and more

The iconic Fairmont Scottsdale Princess filed a request to the city of Scottsdale to update its master plan.

13 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

TSMC reaches construction milestone for Phoenix chip factory

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. in Phoenix reached a construction milestone on its chip plant this week.

14 hours ago

Stock image of four men working off the ground on a grid of steel rods. Construction was one of Ari...

Kevin Stone

Arizona had 103 fatal work injuries in 2022, a sharp increase from previous year

There were 103 fatal work injuries in Arizona in 2022, according newly released federal statistics, 54% more than a year earlier.

15 hours ago

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) attends a House Armed Services Committee hearing on July 9, 2020, in Wash...

Ruben Gallego calls Arizona US Senate rival Kari Lake’s switch up on John McCain ‘insulting’

Democratic Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Ruben Gallego isn't buying Kari Lake's change of heart when it comes to John McCain.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.


Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Suspect in death of Lauren Heike indicted on first-degree murder charge