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Levittown Man Pleads Guilty to Murdering Aunt, 61

August 24, 2016



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matthew Weintraub, 215.340.8159, mdweintraub@buckscounty.org

 A Levittown man admitted this morning in Bucks County Common Pleas Court that he murdered his aunt in January, one day before he was scheduled to be in court for stealing from her.

Jeffrey Allen Stafford, 40, pleaded guilty to a general charge of murder before Judge Diane E. Gibbons. In doing so, Stafford admitted that he is guilty of at least third-degree murder in the Jan. 5 beating and strangulation death of Alisa Wilson, 61.

A degree-of-guilt hearing is now under way before Gibbons, in which prosecutors are seeking to prove that Stafford’s crime amounted to first-degree murder. The hearing is expected to continue at least through Thursday.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Stafford would face an automatic life prison sentence. Prosecutors say no aggravating circumstances exist that would warrant imposition of the death penalty.

Wilson’s body was found by Falls Township police on the evening of Jan. 6, lying face-down just inside the doorway of her residence in the Pennsbury Woods Apartments. An autopsy determined that she had died of blunt-force trauma to the thorax and throat, Deputy District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said in court.

Earlier that day, Stafford had been scheduled for trial in Doylestown on charges that he had stolen $805 from a PayPal account belonging to Freedom Tattoo Supplies, a business run by Wilson from her home, in January 2015. Wilson was listed as a prosecution witness in that case.

The theft case was continued to allow Stafford to apply for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, a pretrial probation program typically reserved for first-time nonviolent offenders.

Stafford formerly had worked for his aunt and had lived in her home, Weintraub said, until she evicted him in August 2014.

Weintraub said the evidence would show that Stafford conducted a Google search shortly before the murder on how to kill someone with one’s hands. After killing Wilson, the prosecutor said, Stafford took her vehicle and two purses containing jewelry and money, some of which he used to buy heroin.

The day after the murder, Stafford picked up a friend in the stolen car, telling the friend that he had killed his aunt, Weintraub said, and asking whether the friend knew how to get rid of a body. The friend recorded part of the admission before contacting police.

Stafford told Gibbons that Weintraub’s recitation of the facts was accurate. He also agreed that his crimes amounted to more than manslaughter, and that he was guilty of at least third-degree murder.

Stafford also pleaded guilty to theft, receiving stolen property, access device fraud and possession of heroin. Defense attorney Keith Williams said Stafford could be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison for those crimes.

Weintraub is being assisted in the prosecution by Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Vaughan. The case was investigated by Falls Township Police and Bucks County Detectives.

Approved for release by David W. Heckler, District Attorney.

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