HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A city man has been arrested for the killings of two stepsisters last week.
Jeremiah Battle, 22, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the Nov. 9 beatings and shootings of 16-year-old Kaliah Dearing and 24-year-old Natasha Harner.
Battle also faces a charge of burglary for breaking into the home in the 2200 block of Logan Street and an additional count of tampering with evidence. Investigators say Battle disposed of the gun he used and it has not been recovered.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said Battle was “acquainted” with at least one of the young women if not both victims and an older sister who lived with them.
“He was friends with them; I’ll term it like that for now,” he said.
It is not known whether the older sister was home at the time of the killings or arrived later to find the bodies.
“We’re still investigating what her whereabouts were and exactly where she was,” Marsico said. “We’ll have more information on that later.”
Police were called to the home shortly after 5 p.m. Marsico said the stepsisters were killed “at some point after midday.”
Investigators have not determined a motive, but Marsico said the first-degree murder charges allege that Battle went into the home with the intent to kill.
“We can’t give a lot of details at this time about the factual basis for our charges other than, suffice it to say, that we have sufficient evidence to place Mr. Battle at the crime, that he’s the one who committed these horrible, tragic murders,” he said.
Police Chief Thomas Carter said cooperation from the public helped police to make the arrest. He said investigators put nearly 1,000 hours into solving the case.
“My resources were almost shot, but we didn’t give up. We didn’t quit. There were a lot of sleepless nights,” Carter said.
The arrest followed a search of Battle’s home in the 1700 block of North Street, in the city’s Allison Hill neighborhood, around 6 a.m. Thursday. According to a search warrant affidavit, police went to the house looking for a 9mm handgun, ammunition, a cell phone, and clothing with blood stains.
Marsico said Battle was cooperative with police when he was arrested at the home. He was arraigned and placed in Dauphin County Prison without bail.
A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 29.
Gofundme accounts to help pay for Dearing and Harner’s funerals have been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/donations-for-kaliah and https://www.gofundme.com/natasha-harner-memorial-funds.