Elizabethtown man who crashed car to kill girlfriend wants to withdraw plea

Benjamin Klinger (Lancaster County District Attorney's Office)

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – An Elizabethtown man who admitted to killing his girlfriend in a deliberate car crash wants to take back his guilty plea.

Benjamin Klinger, 22, wants to withdraw the 2014 plea and go to trial, according to the Lancaster County district attorney’s office.

Klinger was sentenced to 28 to 56 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for the December 2012 killing of 17-year-old Samantha Heller. At the time, he told a judge he accepted “full responsibility.”

He now claims his attorney gave him bad advice and didn’t spend enough time on his case.

Heller was a passenger in Klinger’s car when the then-19-year-old drove into a guardrail on Route 203 in Rapho Township at more than 100 mph. Prosecutors said when he realized Heller was still alive, he suffocated her on the roadside.

Klinger had a history of abusive behavior toward Heller, authorities said.

During a post-conviction relief hearing, defense attorney Christopher Lyden said it was Klinger’s decision to plead guilty.

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