Zion Teasley, the Arizona man arrested and charged with murdering 29-year-old Lauren Heike on a hiking trail outside of Phoenix, was fired from his job for harassing his female colleagues, according to his former co-workers.
Police say Heike was stabbed 15 times and appeared to have run through a barbed-wire fence before her death. Teasley was arrested last week after DNA evidence and surveillance footage suggested he was on the trail with Heike around the time of her death.
Teasley Fired for Being Aggressive Towards Female Colleagues
Teasley previously worked at a sportswear store near the site of the killing, according to court documents obtained by local news station KTVK.
The 22-year-old was later fired from the store for being aggressive towards female employees, and appeared on surveillance footage to be wearing clothes he was suspected of stealing from the store, according to detectives.
Teasley, who appeared for the first time in court on Friday, reportedly told investigators he was the man captured on surveillance video trailing behind Heike, before later recanting.
Teasley was Released from Prison on Probation in November
He also allegedly described growing up Christian, struggling with his sexuality, and worrying about the "salvation of his soul due to his thoughts."
"I am definitely not the person who plans to kill another person," he allegedly said, saying, "If I was going to do something like that, it wouldn't be premeditated." Police say the 22-year-old had a plane ticket to Detroit booked around the time of the murder.
Teasley was previously in the Marine Corps, but didn't complete basic training, and was convicted in 2020 for armed robbery. He was released from prison on probation in November.
He is now being being held on $1m bond in the Maricopa County jail. He faces both the murder charge and alleged probation violations relating to his previous arrest.