|Left: Erin Everett (25), who murdered her fiance Tory Minnick (21) in March 2010|
Erin Everett and Tory Minnick lived in the conservative town of Jerome, Pennsylvania and had a whirlwind romance that turned fatal on March 25th, 2011. Shortly before they met, Erin had come out to her family members, who were initially quite reluctant to accept her sexuality. Tory, on the other hand, had recently broken off her engagement to a man named Kody Donaldson (24). The two reportedly fell fast for each other, and Erin ended up proposing to Tory early into their relationship. Tory accepted, and Erin’s parents eventually agreed to allow Tory to move into their family’s home. The girls appeared to be a happy couple to their family and friends, however behind closed doors things were beginning to fall apart.
The couple began to fight more often after Tory moved into the Everett family home. Erin’s mother had suspicions that Tory was physically abusive towards Erin. Despite this, Erin told others that Tory was the love of her life and she wanted to make their relationship work. In the following months, their fights escalated as Tory began to spend more and more weekends away from Erin—opting to visit her hometown in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania instead. Erin eventually learned that Tory had rekindled her relationship with her ex-fiancé Kody, and she had been spending her weekends in Meyersdale with him.
This realization caused Erin to snap. While Tory slept on the evening of March 25th, 2011, Erin used her father’s gun to shoot Tory twice in the head. Then, she hit Tory twice in the head with a hammer. After a failed attempt to remove Tory’s body from her family’s home, Erin called her mother and told her that an intruder had broken into their home and attacked Tory. The police were called as well, and when they arrived, they found Tory’s body amongst the bloody crime scene inside the home.
Erin told police the same story she told her mother—that a masked intruder entered their home and attacked/killed Tory. She specifically told police that the intruder told her he was there for Tory and not her. It is believed that Erin said this in attempt to point the finger at Tory’s ex, Kody Donaldson. However, police were quickly able to get in touch with him, and he had an airtight alibi that proves he was not at the home when the murder occurred. Police then brought Erin back to the station for questioning, where she eventually admitted to killing Tory after finding out she had been unfaithful.
Despite confessing to the crime, Erin ended up pleading not guilty to first degree murder. Before trial, her defense attorney argued that Tory’s murder was triggered by Battered Women’s Syndrome after she had repeatedly abused Erin. Lead defense attorney Bryan Peck explained, “I believe that it was premeditated, but I believe that that premeditation was a result of something outside of Erin Everett’s control.” The judge overseeing the case stated that there was not enough evidence that physical abuse occurred in their relationship for the attorney’s claim to be admitted in court. Due to this, the court ultimately convicted Erin Everett of first degree murder in November 2014. She was sentenced to life in prison without parole.