READING, Pa. - For four years no one knew he did it. Wednesday, a judge found Cory Vankeuren guilty of killing Audrey Giannotti, 20, while she slept in bed with her two kids.
Giannotti was shot in the basement of her aunt and uncle's Laureldale home on Earl Street. That was in January 2007. The case was cold for four years, until Vankeuren was arrested in 2011. Authorities said ballistics showed his gun was used in the deadly shooting.
Wednesday Vankeuren was convicted of by a judge of first degree murder.
Cory Vankeuren knew Audrey Giannotti's aunt and uncle, Jackie and Terry Hollenbach for 20 years. He was a close family friend who not only murdered their niece, but then continued their friendship until police cracked the case.
Cory Vankeuren took Audrey Giannotti's life and so much more from Terry and Jackie Hollenbach.
"We've not only become victimized in the sense of taking my niece from us," said Jackie Hollenbach, "But I don't feel safe in my own home. My husband doesn't trust anybody. So, it goes well behind the horrible night we had there."
On the night of Audrey Gianotti's murder, Vankeuren told police he was asleep on the Hollenbachs' couch like usual.
"Evidently, he went down with the intention to want to have sex with her," said Jackie Hollenbach, "And she refused and made comments to him and pretty much belittled him, even though he had a gun at her."
But Terry Hollenbach said his childhood friend acted as shocked as he did when they discovered the lifeless mother and her girls.
"Jamora was there. I grabbed her," said Terry Hollenbach, "Totally forgot about the other little girl, he remembered her."
Those two little girls are now 6 and 8.
"There's been days when she's been over my house, the other weekend and she cried for three hours that she missed her mom," said Jackie Hollenbach, "And I don't know how to comfort a child who misses her mom that much and you can't give it to her."
Those girls lost their mother. And the family said Vankeuren betrayed all of them.
"Up until a few days before he was arrested he was still spending weekends at our house," said Jackie Hollenbach.
For four years police believed another man was responsible until they tested Vankeuren's gun, made a match and say he confessed. For a year he's been locked up. And in court, the Hollenbachs finally saw him again, but he wouldn't look up.
"He can be a coward and go downstairs with a gun, take a life of a defenseless girl but he can't look at me in the eye when he knows I can't touch him," said Terry Hollenbach, "If that ain't a coward I don't know what is."
Vankeuren's sentencing is next Wednesday. Prosecutors said he will automatically get life in prison for first degree murder. The Hollenbachs' plan to be there to give a statement. They said after five years their niece can finally rest in peace.
Allentown, PA 18102