Jason Sweeney, the 16-year-old Fishtown, Philadelphia, teen who was beaten to death with a hammer and hatchet by his friends 13 years ago, will be the main story on Investigation Discovery’s Murder Among Friends.
Murder Among Friends examines the most horrific true-crime cases dealing with victims who have been savagely murdered by their own friends. The episode titled “Friend Fatale” will recount the case of a hard-working teen who is lured to his death by a pretty girl who promised him sex, but instead, she sets him up to be killed by his best friend and two other childhood friends. Tonight’s show will most likely include interviews with Jason Sweeney’s parents, friends, and law enforcement officials who worked on the Fishtown murder case. Jason Sweeney’s killers — 16-year-old Eddie Batzig, 16-year-old Nicholas Coia, 17-year-old Domenic Coia, and 15-year-old Justina Morley — were sentenced to time in prison, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In May 2003, Jason Sweeney was reported missing by his parents after he didn’t return home as expected. The last anyone knew was that he was supposed to meet up with 15-year-old Justina Morley, a new girl he liked. A short time later, the body of Justin Sweeney was found at “The Trails,” a heavily-secluded area near the Delaware River.
An autopsy report concluded that Jason Sweeney had been beaten numerous times with various weapons, including a hatchet and a hammer. The bones in his face were all crushed except one. Detectives learned that Jason had been spending time with Justina Morley. During an interview with police, Justina told detectives that she was in the woods with Jason that day when three other boys came out of nowhere and began beating him. Justina tried to pretend that she was an innocent person who had been surprised by the arrival of the other three boys. However, investigators found out that it was all planned, Murder Among Friends will show.
Fishtown teens Eddie Batzig, Sweeney’s best friend, and the Coia brothers, Nicholas and Domenic, were boys he had known since they were small children. The investigation revealed that Eddie Batzig, Nicholas, and Domenic Coia had grown jealous of him because Jason Sweeney was doing things with his life. He was working with his father in construction and making $500 a week. He also had his heart set on becoming a Navy SEAL. The Philadelphia teen was not a person who was involved in drugs and drinking like his friends. In fact, Jason Sweeney’s parents made him put some distance between himself and the Coia brothers, something that made them feel that Jason was better.
Justina lured Jason Sweeney to the location where they attacked him. Authorities say Justina Morley promised him a day of sex in the woods. It would have been Jason’s first date and his first sexual experience. Sadly, he had no idea that he was walking into a trap set up by his so-called friends. The “Killer Kids” were all arrested and charged with murder.
At trial, Jason Sweeney’s father had a few words for them, according to Philly.com.
“Look at me, all three of you! Every night when you close your eyes, you’ll see mine looking back at you for what you did to my boy,” Paul Sweeney said. “You look at me, Domenic, with your evil eyes.”
Minutes later, standing in shackles, Coia responded, “I never thought I had evil eyes, but I guess I do. And I’m cool.”
Eddie Batzig, Nicholas Coia, and Domenic Coia were all given life sentences. For her cooperation with the investigation, Justina Morley received 17-and-a-half to 35-year prison sentence, according to Philly.com. She is eligible for parole in five years. To learn about Jason Sweeney’s sad story, watch Murder Among Friends this Tuesday, May 17 at 10/9 p.m. Central on ID.
[Photo by Jacqueline Larma/AP Images]