"I Kept Shooting," Collazo Says on Police Recording
Mark Werkheiser homicide case heads to trial, as judge hears police recording of defendant.
Eight days after Mark Werkheiser was found dead in Williams Township, state police recorded a long conversation between his ex-girlfriend and one of her friends.
On that recording, played for District Judge Daniel Corpora Friday in Northampton County Court, Elizabeth "Lily" Collazo tells her friend Amanda Richline that she shot Werkheiser as he slept.
"He woke up when I shot him the first time," Collazo tells Richline on the recording.
"What did you do?" Richline asks.
"I kept shooting."
As the recording played, members of Werkheiser's family wept, hearing Collazo describing the killing, and the steps she took to cover her tracks. She said "They have nothing on me," referring to the police.
But Corpora ruled that there was, in fact, enough evidence for Collazo, 42, to go to trial. Her formal arraignment is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 7 in county court.
First Deputy District Attorney Terry Houck said he will pursue first degree murder charges against Collazo, but told reporters Friday it's too soon to say whether he'll seek the death penalty.
Werkheiser, 38, was found shot to death in his home on Browns Drive on the morning of March 15. He and Collazo had been in a custody fight over their four children.
In court on Friday, his daughter Corrina described finding his body.
She had missed her bus that morning, and she and her twin sister Chelsea had gotten up just before 7 a.m. to get ready for school, with the idea that their father would take them. Then Chelsea went to wake Mark.
"I just heard her scream," Corrina Werkheiser testified. "I ran upstairs, I said 'Chelsea, what's wrong?' And she said 'Dad.'"
Werkheiser's family and friends packed the courtroom, many of them wearing grey "Mark's Voice" t-shirts. In the front row, family members huggled Chelsea and Corrina.
"Out of the entire family so far, the twins have been the strongest," Houck said after the hearing. "A big part of them died that day with their dad."
It was emotional testimony, as the girl described finding the body, and then identified her father's wallet and a rare penny -- known as a "wheat penny -- he carried with him.
That penny -- along with several keys to Werkheiser's house and car -- would later be turned over to Richline by Collazo, prosecutors say.
In the recording -- made by Pennsylvania state police with Richline's cooperation -- Richline tries to steer Collazo into talking about the killing.
The recording is fuzzy at times, with sirens and engine noises in the background. Collazo says a few times that she's "in the ghetto," but declines to say exactly where.
At first, her answers are one or two word responses, although it's clear from Richline's questions that it's not the first time they've discussed the matter. There are references to Collazo "pleading guilty," and to her threatening to kill herself.
As the conversation goes on, Collazo sounds more and more emotional, accusing Werkheiser of abuse -- something he, in turn, had alleged about her -- and talking about wanting to help her sons.
As the tape played, Collazo kept her head bowed, and rocked back and forth in her seat.
Richline asks Collazo if Werkheiser had been surprised to see her.
"No. No," she says. "He was asleep."
"I didn't know you knew how to use a gun," Richline says.
Later: "Was it Mark's gun or your gun?" Richline asks.
"It was his. Out of his safe."
That gun hasn't been found yet, police say. On the recording, Collazo talks about the steps she used to cover her tracks, including wearing Werkheiser's clothes during the shooting, and wearing gloves.
"I made a choice," Collazo tells Richline. "It was the wrong choice, but I made a choice."
Richline says she'll pray for Collazo, and tells her that God forgives.
"He's not going to forgive this," Collazo says. "And I'm lost in the ghetto, and I don't know where I'm going."