2010-05-06 / Local & State

DA: Reason For Eastern Pennsylvania Motel Murders Unknown

READING, Pa. (AP) – Authorities in eastern Pennsylvania say they believe a man shot two sisters in a motel office and later killed himself in a central Pennsylvania hotel with the same shotgun, but they have no idea why the crime was committed.

Christopher Deiter, 38, who grew up in Myerstown, shot 60-year-old Carolyn Ann Levan, manager of the Hillside Motel, and her 57-yearold sister, Charlene Dale Levan, on Tuesday in the Hillside Motel, Berks County District Attorney John Adams said.

“I think that somebody snapped,’’ Adams told reporters Friday. “Two women in the prime of their lives had their lives taken for no apparent reason.’’

Deiter had been staying at the Hillside Motel along Route 422 for four nights before the murders. Investigators said it appeared the women were on the floor when they were shot, and their bodies were then covered with a blanket and the office locked.

State police found Deiter’s body Thursday in a barricaded room in the Budget Inn in Lititz, dead of the same 20-gauge shotgun used to kill the women in Amity Township, Adams said. In Dieter’s room at the Hillside Hotel, the word “Bye’’ was written with soap on a bathroom window, Adams said.

Adams said Deiter had no criminal history, no one had complained about him at the motel and there was no indication that he knew the sisters beyond routine encounters during his stay. The suspect, who was single and had no children, may have reached the end of his rope because he was struggling financially, Adams said.

“We have no information that there was anyone else involved in this case,’’ Adams said. “We are very confident that the perpetrator has been found.’’

Family members have been mourning the victim’s loss and trying to understand how someone could kill them. Barbara Seidel, of Birdsboro, their sister, called the two “inseparable’’ and said that while devastated by their deaths, she takes some comfort that they were together when they died.

“They found the good in everybody,’’ she said. “They would help anyone who was down and out, even though they had very little themselves.’’

“They were the kindest people in the world,’’ said their cousin, Shirley Levan, 73, of Amity Township. “When they met you, they always hugged you.’’

Deiter had moved back in with his parents a month ago due to financial difficulties, family friend Richard Miller said. He said the family wanted everyone to know how sorry they were for the families of the victims.

“Everything is a total mystery,’’ he said. “It was just as shocking to his family as it was to everyone else.’’

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