MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - A man accused of killing the mother of two young children while they slept is heading to trial on homicide charges.
Cory Vankeuren waived his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon. He's accused of shooting Audrey Giannotti to death inside a home in which she was living with her aunt and uncle on Earl Street in Laureldale, Berks County on January 13, 2007.
Vankeuren, 36, was apprehended on March 15, 2011 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.
Berks County detectives said they managed to solve the four-year-old homicide case after determining that the gun Vankeuren owns is the one that was used to kill Giannotti, 20, who was sleeping in bed with her two daughters at the time.
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," Berks County District Attorney John Adams said at the time of Vankeuren's arrest.
Adams added that a possible motive for the killing was a romantic interest Vankeuren 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.
Vankeuren has been returned the Berks County Jail, where he has been held without bail since his arrest.
3/15/11 STORY:Man Charged In 2007 Killing Of Young Mother
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News