Arraignment for Heaton on felony charges is April 17
Man implicated in Lock Haven found-body case
LOCK HAVEN — Rodney L. Heaton, charged in connection with the discovery of a body in Lock Haven last December, waived the right to a preliminary hearing this week on 750 misdemeanor counts, and is now scheduled for court arraignment on six felonies.
Clinton County District Attorney David Strouse announced last week that he has decidied to charge Heaton with six felony charges including identity theft, access device fraut, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen goods.
Heaton is scheduled for arraignment on the six felony charges on April 17.
Because of the overarching nature of the series of crimes, combined with the amount of money stolen, Strouse said, it makes sense to reduce the number of misdemeanors, and consider the crime process itself as a felony-worthy crime.
City police allege Heaton stole just over $12,150 from a local woman whose death he concealed for 17 months.
Heaton, 53, illegally used Teresa Hannah Hill’s medical access and bank cards dozens of times to pay her rent, buy food and other items for himself between Aug. 1, 2015, and this past Dec. 22, while keeping Hill’s mysterious death a secret, according to court documents.
Heaton has not been charged in Hill’s death.
He is being housed in the Centre County Prison, Bellefonte, in default of $100,000 bail. The transfer was made because a relative is employed at the Clinton County Correctional Facility where Heaton was initially jailed, officials said.
The case was uncovered on Dec. 22, when a woman’s badly decomposed body – later identified as Hill – was found rolled up in a carpet behind an apartment at 5 Corning St. downtown.
Hill was reported to be age 59 when she died.
Heaton told police he found Hill dead in July 2015 in her apartment and admitted he used her state-issued Access Card and Santander Bank card ever since, according to police documents.
Heaton said he used the Access card to buy food and used the bank card to make withdrawals, knowing that Hill received money at the beginning of every month from her Social Security benefits deposited into her Santander account. He admitted to forging Hill’s signature on a renewal form for Hill’s Department of Human Services benefits and mailing in a form so Hill’s Access card account would continue to have money in it, police said.
Through a search warrant, police obtained records of Teresa Hill’s Access card use from Aug. 1, 2015 through Dec. 22, 2016.
Heaton maintains that he found Hill dead in the Corning Street apartment. He said he wrapped her body inside an air mattress, duct-taped it shut, tied cord around it, rolled it in a carpet and placed her body on the back porch of the second-floor apartment.
The carpet was tossed off the back porch last Dec. 22 by workers cleaning out the apartment. When they picked the rug up off the ground to move it onto a trailer, they discovered the body and notified police, according to court documents.
Heaton is being represented by Public Defender Thom Rosamilia.