EAST PENN TWP., Pa. - His grandparents raised him, so why did a Carbon Co. man allegedly plot to murder them? The bizarre crime happened in the tiny town of Ashfield, near Lehighton. According to investigators, money and drugs may be at the heart of this incident.
Other than the occasional car and a few roosters, Blue Mountain Road is usually pretty peaceful.
"This is a really nice neighborhood, and it's a really good neighborhood," said resident Denise Rhyder.
But inside Jake Wertman's house, police believe he and his girlfriend plotted to kill his own grandparents.
"I can't imagine that," said Rhyder, who has known the family for two decades. "I cannot imagine that."
Wertman and girlfriend Amber Steigerwalt are now charged with several counts of assault. According to troopers, the pair hid inside a dark kitchen on Monday night, armed with knives. They said Steigerwalt stabbed Wetrman's grandmother, Marge, twice in the neck.
The victim fought back, though. According to court papers, Marge Wertman tried to choke Steigerwalt before attempting to dial 911. After that, police said Jake Wertman waited an hour to take his grandmother to the hospital.
"I don't know how badly they would ever need money that they -- that he could do that to her," said Rhyder.
State Police said Wertman wanted to collect his inheritance.
No one answered at the Wertmans' house Wednesday afternoon, but according to an arrest affidavit, troopers found a "large amount of drug paraphernalia" inside. The affidavit says Steigerwalt admitted to taking meth and heroin residue just before the attack.
"The Werkmans are great people with Jake, and they did a lot more than most people would do, and took care of him most of his life," said Rhyder. "He was more like their son than like their grandson."
Marge Werkman was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, but has since been released. Her grandson and his girlfriend were each given $300,000 bond.
A jury in Pike County heard more emotional testimony Tuesday from the family of Eric Frein.Read More »
- Police ambush killer won't take stand in bid to spare life
- Fire destroys home in Schuylkill Township
- Shenandoah Sentinel creator has big plans
- Eric Frein's father, mother testify during penalty phase
- BonTon carries Pottsville pottery-maker's products
- Judge refuses competency hearing for police ambush killer
- Berks County officials continue to discuss partnership with ICE
- Hanover Township hears Turkey Hill liquor license request
- Multi-Purpose skatepark in the works in Reading
- Updated A little rain this morning; otherwise mostly cloudy and turning milder today
- Reading Planning Commission moves forward on subdivision of Fromm Electric
- A career (and a giraffe) is born
- North Catasauqua Borough Council give sinkhole house owner an ultimatum
- Mother, son breaking business barriers for those with autism
- Bethlehem makes Forbes' top 25 best places to retire
- House advances bill to let restaurants sell takeout liquor