A man suffocated his girlfriend after a deliberate crash, and now he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for this brutal crime. A Pennsylvania man murdered his pregnant girlfriend in 2012, and now he has been sentenced to as much as 56 years in prison. The Spread It reported on Benjamin Klinger's sentencing on Aug. 31.
This shocking crime first made headlines two years ago. Benjamin Klinger admitted to killing his girlfriend. The murder happened in December 2012 after an intense argument. Klinger found out that his girlfriend of two years, Samantha Heller, was pregnant. The young couple then decided to go for a drive, and this is where the murder happened. During their drive, Klinger decided to drive his car head on into a guardrail. At the time of the accident, he was driving at 115 mph. He was severely injured in the crash, but both he and his girlfriend survived.
His girlfriend did survive the initial accident, but she did not survive what happened next. Klinger sat on his girlfriend's torso and head until she died. The cause of death was suffocation. A witness at the scene of the crime did call 911, and he heard Samantha ask her boyfriend to get off her chest. The witness told the 911 operator this, and they were told not to move the injured persons inside the car. Her pleas are even heard on the tape of the 911 call. Would Samantha be alive today if the eyewitness acted when they heard her pleas? There is no real way to know that.
Klinger pleaded guilty in a Lancaster County court late last week. He also apologized to the young girl's family during the court appearance. He said the following to the family of Samantha Heller, according to Travelers Today:
"I accept full responsibility for the loss of a very special person. I want you to know with all my heart I'm sorry ... really sorry."
Samantha Heller was only 17 years old at the time of her death. Klinger and Heller had been dating for two years at the time of the accident. It was revealed following the accident that Klinger was abusive to Heller during their relationship. One incident involved Klinger pushing Heller down a flight of stairs. Heller told friends she was pregnant just days before the accident, but it was not clear if the baby belonged to Klinger.
Heller was the only child of Sandy McFalls. Her mother described Samantha as "happy, charismatic and loving" prior to her relationship with Klinger. However, she became withdrawn and closed off as the abusive relationship continued. McFalls did admit that her family did try to get Samantha away from Klinger, but their attempts were not successful. McFalls accepted the sentence, and she said the following to Klinger during the court session:
"I want you to have nothing else to do (in prison) but think about how you took her life and destroyed ours."
The judge involved with the case, Margaret Miller, hopes that Klinger is a changed man when he is released from prison. She said the following during Klinger's sentencing:
"[There] is no doubt in my mind you lived your life with a callousness, arrogance and a cowardliness, frankly, because being a bully is a coward. You treated [Heller] like an object, and when that object became an inconvenience, the object was removed from your path."
He will have to spend at least the next 28 years of his life behind bars though. His sentence includes time for a drug charge and for sharing sexually explicit photos of a minor. This crime has brought new attention and debate to abusive relationships. Samantha might be alive today if she had ended her relationship with Benjamin Klinger.