Charges filed in 2018 death of man found in alley in Reading

'This was a senseless, senseless act of violence'

READING, Pa. - Murder charges have been filed in the death of a homeless man whose body was found in an alley in Reading last year.

Berks County District Attorney John Adams held a news conference Thursday to announce the charges of first-, second-, and third-degree murder against Dustin Appling, a 26-year-old Reading man.

Adams' announcement comes more than 16 months after Glen Anders was found dead on the rear steps of a vacant house in the 300 block of Heckman's Court, an alley behind Mulberry Street.

"The initial officer who responded to the scene observed and documented that the male was the victim of an assault, having a bruised back and blue face, and the decedent's leg was bent in a very unnatural position," Adams said.

A forensic autopsy performed four days later revealed that Anders, 58, died of head injuries he suffered in the assault, which happened approximately 24 to 72 hours before his body was found on April 9, 2018, authorities said.

"This was a senseless, senseless act of violence that occurred," Adams said.

Reading police took the lead in the investigation. They were later joined by the DA's detectives, who credited the victim's family members for helping them to move the case forward.

"We determined that, based upon the evidence that we gathered, that this case was right to be investigated by the Berks County investigating grand jury, which we utilize in many situations," Adams said.

The grand jury heard testimony from a number of witnesses, including one who testified that Appling admitted, "I killed the homeless man."

Another witness, according to Adams, testified that Appling sold Anders synthetic marijuana and, after the transaction, Appling wanted to take back the drug without returning Anders' money. Appling, the witness testified, then repeatedly punched and kicked Anders while screaming, "Die (expletive). Die."

"This is a classic case of individuals stepped forward, told us what they heard, what they saw, and what they knew," Adams said, "and as a result, we were able to gather enough information, took this information to a grand jury... and we developed more information as a result of their grand jury participation."

Appling is being held without bail. He's due in court for a preliminary hearing on August 30.

"This is one of the 19 homicides that occurred in our city last year, and we are pleased each and every day when we solve these homicides."

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