Taray Herring, 47, was arraigned Saturday morning on those charges as well as counts of criminal trespass, theft, and evidence-tampering, according to court records. He was ordered held without bail.
Police responding to a burglary call in the Somerton neighborhood followed a U-Haul truck that drove away from the property. After they pulled the driver over, they reported finding the dismembered body in a trash bag in the rear of the truck. A weapon was also found. The driver and a passenger were arrested.
Police say they also found more body parts, specifically a leg and a hand, in a dumpster behind a Wawa at Kelvin Street and Bustleton Avenue less than a third of a mile away from the first crime scene in Somerton. Police said the body parts could belong to the same victim.
Prior to the discovery, investigators said someone had called in a burglary in progress at a home and then reported seeing a U-Haul truck leave the scene.
Neighbors identified the owner of the home as Peter Gerold, who operated "Kneading You Therapy," a massage therapy practice out of his house. Neighbors said they noticed Gerold's cars missing earlier this week.
He is a licensed masseuse focusing on healing practices like reiki he even gave pet massages. He cared for exotic animals like birds , fish and turtles and made honey from bees in his yard that he shared with neighbors. They fear he offered work to someone who took advantage pic.twitter.com/0qKfpsNZqm— Annie McCormick (@6abcAnnie) February 11, 2021
Police have not said if the body found in the U-Haul was positively identified as Gerold. Sources, however, said investigators also found pieces of body parts in an unattached garage behind his home and it looks like someone tried to burn the body, too.
Neighbors said Gerold had several exotic pets like birds, fish and turtles.
He also grew honey and would deliver to his neighbors, said next door neighbor Tiffany McLean.
"He was always willing to help people no matter what; it's so sad," McLean said.
Neighbor Linda Xander said he was known to offer work around the house to people and may have been too trusting.
"We figured he was always helping them do something, you know...I guess this is his payback for doing something nice," said Xander.
The Defender Association of Philadelphia, listed in court records as representing Herring, declined comment Saturday.