Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Police: Warminster murder suspect staged Morrisville woman's death as suicide
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Something about the scene inside the Bensalem motel room where a 32-year-old Morrisville woman was found dead seemed out of place to detectives.
While at first glance it appeared Kristin McNally took her own life by wrapping a telephone cord around her neck and tethering it to a night stand, police said such a suicidal method isn't typically seen among women. McNally, a mother of a 3-year-old son, appeared healthy. The room where she was found was in disarray, as if a struggle had occurred.
“It seemed odd to us she ended her life this way so suddenly,” Bensalem Lt. William McVey said.
It didn’t take long for police to figure out that McNally did not kill herself. On Tuesday, her boyfriend, Joseph McFadden, 38, of Whittier Drive in Warminster, was charged with killing McNally, then staging her death to appear like it was a suicide.
McFadden was arraigned before District Judge Joseph Falcone on charges that include criminal homicide, robbery, theft, possession of an instrument of crime and tampering with evidence. He was sent to Bucks County prison without bail.
“We are just glad today that we took him off the street for Ms. McNally, who suffered a horrible death,” McVey said Tuesday. “Hopefully we can put him away for a long time.”
If convicted, McFadden faces life in prison plus 39 years, according to Jennifer Schorn, the chief of major crimes for the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, who will prosecute McFadden. She said McFadden has not shown any remorse for his alleged crime.
“He showed no reaction whatsoever,” Schorn added.
Bensalem police and Bucks County Detectives began investigating the death May 12, shortly after a motel employee found McNally’s body inside her rented room at the Knights Inn in the 2700 block of Lincoln Highway.
An autopsy determined the cord found wrapped around her neck did not cause her death, according to an affidavit of probable cause. McNally died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck and manual strangulation, police said.
Dr. Ian Hood, who performed the autopsy, told authorities the cord was placed on McNally when she was dying or already dead “in an effort to stage the scene,” court documents allege.
About two hours after McNally’s body was found, a friend arrived at the motel and told police McNally had been staying at the Knights Inn for a few days, court documents allege. The motel’s video surveillance system confirmed she and her boyfriend had rented a room on May 10.
The friend claimed he last received a text message from McNally on May 11 telling him she needed money. The friend said he left her $100 in the bed of his pickup truck parked at his Bristol Township home, according to police. He confirmed the money was picked up at some point.
Later on May 12, Bensalem police interviewed McFadden at Philadelphia police headquarters, where he was awaiting arraignment on charges of driving under the influence after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident in McNally’s Mercury Sable the day before, the affidavit said. He agreed to give police a DNA sample for testing, police said.
Court records show that McFadden is also awaiting preliminary hearings in Bucks and Montgomery counties on DUI charges stemming from two arrests last year.
Bensalem detectives later met with McFadden at Doylestown Hospital, where he had checked himself into the detox unit. At the time, McFadden agreed to speak to police, adding he wanted to help in the death investigation.
McFadden told police he and McNally were the only ones who stayed in the motel room and he said he never placed any personal items or opened any drawers on the nightstands during their stay, the affidavit said.
But police say that was a lie — one of several that McFadden had told them.
McFadden’s DNA matched DNA samples taken off the nightstand drawer in the motel room, court documents said. Police also allege that McFadden claimed he left the motel around 2 p.m. on May 11, but surveillance video captured him leaving the motel shortly before 6:30 p.m., police said.
Police found McNally’s cellphone concealed in a vent under the driver’s seat of her car — after McFadden told police he didn’t have his cellphone or McNally’s on him. He also told Philadelphia investigators that another man was driving the Mercury Sable at the time of the hit-and-run accident, but later admitted he was the only occupant in the car, the affidavit said.
Finally, Bensalem police allege McFadden admitted he killed McNally before leaving the motel. He also admitted he knew police wouldn’t buy that she hanged herself and that he did a “bad job” of staging the crime scene, the affidavit said.
“McFadden also asked if we would advise the victim’s mother that he was sorry and that he loved the victim. He stated he would provide a written apology letter for the victim’s son to read once he was of age,” the affidavit said. McFadden is not the child’s father, McVey said.