Pa. college student arrested in classmate's death

April 9, 2009 6:04:04 PM PDT
A Gettysburg College senior was arrested Thursday in the slaying of his former girlfriend, also a student at the school, who died after being stabbed and choked. Gettysburg Borough Police say they have prepared documents to charge Kevin Robert Schaeffer, 21, with criminal homicide in the death of sophomore Emily Rachel Silverstein, 19. She was found inside Schaeffer's off-campus apartment.

Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner said the two had a romantic relationship that had ended. He declined to comment about a possible motive.

Wagner said the attack is believed to have occurred between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Thursday. A call to the county emergency center came in at 6:44 a.m., and police arrested Schaeffer, of Oley, outside the home a short time later. Wagner would not say who called 911.

Police confiscated a "knifelike" weapon, but would not give more details about it. Wagner said Silverstein, of Roosevelt, N.J., was stabbed several times in her neck and upper torso, and authorities believe Schaeffer choked Silverstein with his hands.

The private, liberal-arts school in south-central Pennsylvania owns the older, two-story yellow clapboard house on the outskirts of town where the killing occurred, and leases it to students.

Wagner said Schaeffer's roommate was not home at the time and is not believed to have been involved in the slaying.

Schaeffer also was expected to be charged with aggravated assault, possessing an instrument of crime and tampering with evidence.

It was not immediately clear whether Schaeffer had obtained a lawyer. He was expected to be arraigned by videoconference later Thursday and then jailed without bail in the Adams County Prison. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

College President Janet Morgan Riggs issued a brief statement describing the matter as a tragedy for the community and the families involved.

About 2,600 students attend the 177-year-old college, whose 200-acre campus is located in this rural community where a national military park memorializes the famous Civil War battle fought here and where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech. The school's annual tuition, room, board and fees cost about $47,000.


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