Man admits to suffocating girlfriend next to car crash after she survived 115-mph impact
Benjamin Klinger, 21, was sentenced Friday to 28 to 56 years in prison, after admitting and apologizing for suffocating his girlfriend, Samantha "Sammi" Heller, 17, after she survived his deliberate 115-mph car crash to kill her.
"Assistant District Attorney Christine Wilson told the court that on the morning of Dec. 4, 2012, Klinger, of Elizabethtown [Pennsylvania], was speeding westbound on Route 283, west of Strickler Road, when he crashed a 1986 Toyota Celica into the end of a guardrail at an estimated speed of 115 mph," reports Lancaster Online. "Investigators found no evidence of braking."
"A motorist, who came upon the crash and called 911, told investigators he saw Klinger sitting on a face-down Heller beside the car," Lancaster Online details. "A recording of the 911 call picked up a woman's moans, according to preliminary hearing testimony."
Despite their two-year relationship, Klinger was extremely abusive towards Heller. During on-and-off dating, Klinger even reportedly ran over Heller's foot after one heated argument.
According to Lancaster Online, Klinger said in court, "I accept full responsibility for the loss of a very special person." Heller's mother accepted Klinger's plea bargain of pleading guilty to third-degree murder, rather than elongate the wait for a sentence during a follow-up trial.
"For third-degree murder and homicide by vehicle, Klinger was sentenced to 23 to 46 years," Lancaster Online further reports. "Another three to six years were added for sending sexually explicit phone photos of him engaging in sex acts with a minor in July 2012. An additional two to four years were added for a $30 drug deal involving an undercover officer in August 2012."