The accused killers of Ashley Kline will be facing the death penalty when they are tried for her brutal slaying, according to a court filing.
Prosecutors have filed notice to seek the death penalty against Ryan Schannauer and Adam M. Lynch, both charged with kidnapping, beating and stabbing the 23-year-old Berks County woman, then setting her ablaze in a Clay Township wildlife area.
Kline’s body was found Jan. 12 at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, two weeks after her father reported her missing.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Lechner, in the court filing, outlines three factors which, he claims, makes the crime eligible for capital punishment:
• The killing was done during the course of a felony (arson).
• The killing was done during the course of another felony (kidnapping).
• Kline was tortured.
District Attorney Craig Stedman said the torture involved how Kline was killed: she was beaten and wrestled out of a car, before being stabbed and set on fire - while still alive.
"The decision to file for the death penalty is a solemn one and we never make it lightly," Stedman said Wednesday afternoon. "The torture is based on the specific facts and manner they went about the actual murder."
Stedman and other investigators didn't disclose a motive for the killing
Schannauer, 19, and Lynch, 21, both from Berks County, are facing numerous charges, including homicide, arson, kidnapping, abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to commit the first three crimes.
Prosecutors will seek first-degree murder convictions, and the death penalty, against both men.
Stedman said its too early to determine whether the men will be tried together or separately.
When the men allegedly kidnapped Kline on Dec. 30, she believed she would be watching a movie with them, according to arrest affidavits. Schannauer, a former Cocalico High School student, was a longtime friend of Kline’s, according to the Kline family.