WOMELSDORF, Pa. - Two men accused of killing a woman from Berks County could face the harshest penalty if convicted.
The Lancaster County District Attorney said Wednesday he will seek the death penalty against Adam Lynch and Ryan Schannauer.
Both are accused of kidnapping 23-year-old Ashley Kline back in December from her Robesonia home, as well as stabbing her several times and then setting her on fire.
Kline had been missing for more than a week before her remains were found in Lancaster County.
The crime has broken the heart of Ashley's aunt, Penny Monteleone from Womelsdorf, Berks Co.
Monteleon treated Ashley like her own daughter, especially since Ashley's biological mother has been in a coma for six years, according to family members.
Ashley's death was yet another unthinkable blow to this family.
"It's unimaginable," said Monteleone. "So the only peace we have now is that she's in heaven."
To make matters worse, one of the suspects, Ryan Schannauer, was once a family friend.
"We feel like we were betrayed by a family friend," said Monteleon. "It's difficult because there are families involved. But we feel that our family has suffered the most."
Ashley's parents say their 23-year-old had the mental capacity of a 15-year-old because she had lead poisoning as a child.
While loved ones have mixed feelings over the death penalty, they say their search for justice is what matters now.
"I feel that the jury will come to the right conclusion. I have a lot of faith that they'll take the proper action concerning this horrific crime."
Since both of the suspects waived their preliminary hearing, this case will go straight to trial.
While loved ones say the death penalty won't bring back Ashley, they say justice must be served.
Allentown, PA 18102