Maricopa County prosecutors seek death penalty for accused murderer of Lauren Heike

Jan 2, 2024, 4:35 AM | Updated: 11:02 am

Lauren Heike, 29, was found murdered in north Phoenix in April 2023. (Instagram photo/@lohighkey)...

Lauren Heike, 29, was found murdered in north Phoenix in April 2023. (Instagram photo/@lohighkey)

(Instagram photo/@lohighkey)

PHOENIX — Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the man accused of killing Lauren Heike who was found dead on a hiking trail in April.

Zion Teasley, 22 at the time of his arrest, was indicted on first-degree murder charges by a grand jury in May. An attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed a Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty last week.

Heike’s parents, Jeff and Lana, responded to the notice in a statement through Arizona Voice for Crime Victims.

We received word late this afternoon that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Lauren’s murder. Our family supports MCAO’s decision, and we are grateful for the work of both MCAO and Phoenix PD. We know that our journey through the criminal justice system is just beginning, but we will be there every step of the way to ensure that Lauren receives justice. As we make our way through our first Christmas season without Lauren, our hearts continue to break over her life being cut short by the violent actions of another. However, we want Lauren to be remembered for the beautiful and kind person that she was. We have hope and find joy in the knowledge that we will someday be reunited with Lauren. We ask for your prayers and for privacy at this time.

She was found with 15 stab wounds and injuries to her hands and forearms. The investigation showed she was likely chased over a barbed wire fence before she was killed, according to police documents.

Heike was 29 years old when she was killed.

Teasley was arrested after video surveillance and DNA evidence connected him to the crime.

Not long before the murder, he was fired for being aggressive toward female employees and was suspected of stealing merchandise, according to a probably cause statement.

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Maricopa County prosecutors seek death penalty for accused murderer of Lauren Heike