Teen Charged With Murdering Two Girls Over Cocaine DebtDAVE IVEY , Associated Press
Dec. 8, 1995 8:56 AM ET
BETHLEHEM, PA. BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) _ High on marijuana and packing a pistol, 18-year-old Christopher Bissey went to a popular meeting spot near Lehigh University last summer to meet a 17-year-old girl who owed him $400 for cocaine, police said.
Instead of trying to collect the debt, the baby-faced and bespectacled Bissey shot and killed Jennifer Grider and her best friend, Mary Orlando, 15, police said Thursday as they charged Bissey with the crimes.
The drug connection emerging from the five-month investigation has shocked friends and relatives in this small steel town northeast of Philadelphia. Miss Grider was described as a clean-cut, all-American type.
Bissey was arraigned on two murder charges and jailed without bail pending a Dec. 18 preliminary hearing.
It is too early to say whether the state will seek the death penalty, said District Attorney John Morganelli.
He would not say whether Bissey had confessed, but said two eyewitnesses gave similar accounts.
The girls were killed as they sat in a red Camaro near a stone ledge overlooking the campus, apparently as they were about to eat takeout food. Authorities said Miss Orlando was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The day before, Miss Grider had told a friend she was meeting Bissey at ``The Lookout'' and was afraid he would kill her over a drug debt, according to court papers.
Following up on an anonymous tip, police spoke to the friend, Kenny Dorney, on Monday. He told police of Miss Grider's fears about Bissey.
``We have been looking at him since the outset,'' Bethlehem Police Capt. Herbert Goldfeder said. ``But we ... couldn't place him at the scene. Now we can.''
Bissey was a passenger in a Mercury sedan with two other men on June 29, police said. The three bought a small bag of marijuana and ``smoked three bowls'' in a wooded area, then drove to ``the Lookout.''
Both witnesses said Bissey pointed a gun out the passenger side window at the two girls and fired twice, then got out and fired again. Then he got back in the car and the driver sped away.
No charges are pending against the other youths, Morganelli said.
The girls lived around the corner from each other in a working-class neighborhood. Miss Grider worked at a nursing home to save money to attend Penn State; Miss Orlando was a dance instructor.