Hunter Riley Reeser, a 14-year-old boy belonging to Erie County, told Pennsylvania State Police investigators that he shot his 60-year-old grandmother, Susan Orton, early on Tuesday morning because she wanted him to attend a school meeting he did not want to go to, according to local media sources.
Reeser, who lived with his grandmother in Harborcreek Township, has now been charged with homicide, first-degree murder, aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime, and is being held in Erie County prison without a bond. Reeser’s arrest makes him one of the youngest homicide defendants in the history of Erie County.
Pennsylvania law dictates that Reeser be tried as an adult, and the teen could find himself being sentenced to life without parole or even death if the accusations against him are proved in court. According to Associated Press, children must be charged as adults in homicide cases in Pennsylvania, though defense attorneys can later try to move the charges to juvenile court. Erie County prosecutors said that they would oppose trying Reeser in a juvenile court because of the severity of the crime.
Reeser, who attends a school in the vicinity of his grandmother’s home in the 9000 block of Sawmill Road, was supposed to go for a school meeting. The boy did not intend to go to school, but his grandmother insisted that he did not miss it. She apparently sat in her car, expecting Reeser to join her shortly. The boy then removed a rifle from his bedroom, went to the front porch of the home and “shot his grandmother through the window of her vehicle,” according to the affidavit.
Straightaway, he called Susan Orton’s husband using her cellphone, alleging that he had found the body of the grandmother with a gunshot wound. The husband reportedly told Reeser to call 911 and tell them what happened. He then called 911 and reported the death of his grandmother without divulging any more details about the crime.
When first responders arrived on the scene, they found Susan Orton dead with a single gunshot wound to her head. Erie County Coroner’s Office performed an autopsy soon after, but the results of the autopsy were not immediately made available to the media.
Although Reeser initially refused having anything to do with the crime, when police brought the young boy in for questioning, he confessed to killing his grandmother, saying that he shot her because she was making him go to school against his wishes. The affidavit confirms the allegations, stating that Reeser’s grandmother wanted him to go “to a scheduled meeting at school. Reeser did not want to go to the meeting.”
“We brought the suspect in for questioning, subsequently he confessed to the crime. He was charged with one count of general homicide, one count of aggravated assault, and one count of a firearms violation,” said Lieutenant Wayne Kline, adding that it did not take long for the 14-year-old to accept his crime.
While the motive for the killing of the 60-year-old Susan Orton is still slightly fudged, the fact that 14-year-old Hunter Reeser picked up a rifle to solve a verbal dispute with his grandmother certainly provides a grave cause of concern not only for the community, but for the rest of us as well.
[Image via iStockPhoto]