READING, Pa. - Detectives said they've caught the man who shot and killed a young mother four years ago.
Cory Vankeuren was committed to the Berks County Jail without bail Tuesday. Berks County detectives said the gun he owns was the same gun used to kill Audrey Giannotti in Laureldale on January 13, 2007.
"I actually remember waking up to police, coming to the house asking us if we happened to hear anything," said Kevin Beerman.
Vankeuren, 36, was apprehended around 5:30 a.m. as he was leaving his sister's home in Emmaus, Lehigh County, where he was living. Authorities said he was on his way to his job as a construction worker in Topton, Berks County.
Giannotti, 20, was sleeping in bed with her two daughters when she was shot and killed inside the Earl Street home where she lived with her aunt and uncle.
Neither the girls, nor the aunt and uncle, were physically harmed.
According to court documents, Vankeuren was living in Maxatawny Township at the time of the killing, but would occasionally stay at the home of Giannotti's aunt and uncle as their guest.
Police said he was there the night of the killing, but told them in 2007 that he was asleep at the time and that the gun he owned was at his mother's house because he was on probation for driving under the influence.
But in 2010, detectives asked to see that gun.
"He turned over a firearm and testing indicated conclusively that was the murder weapon," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams, who added that a possible motive for Vankeuren was a romantic interest he had in Giannotti.
But Adams said what was key to solving the case was retrieving the gun. And when asked whether prosecutors can prove Vankeuren fired it, Adams said that will come out later.
"I know that there will be additional evidence presented in court in this case, but we'll wait until that time to reveal what that evidence is," said Adams.
Neighbors in Laureldale said Giannotti's relatives moved away, but they are relieved to hear detectives solved the case.
"Definitely brings you peace of mind," said Beerman.
"The family probably had closure too now, which helps," said Carol Kulp.
Adams said Vankeuren is cooperating and believes he has maintained a relationship with Giannotti's aunt and uncle.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News