Crime

Woman was allegedly ‘pissed off’ and ‘ready’ to kill professor

Woman charged in Penn State professor's death.

A woman, Danielle Geier, was charged in the death of Penn State professor Ronald Bettig.
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A woman, Danielle Geier, was charged in the death of Penn State professor Ronald Bettig.

More alleged details surrounding the death of Penn State professor Ronald Bettig, 56, have emerged after Danelle Geier, 32, was arrested.

Geier and George Ishler Jr., 39, according to an affidavit, were friends with Bettig. Geier was also living with the professor in Lemont.

Ishler and Geier, believing that the professor included them in a recently signed will, allegedly began to plot Bettig’s death on Aug. 10 in the professor’s home and agreed to Ishler drowning Bettig in the ocean during a trip to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. When that did not happen, according to court documents, they allegedly decided to kill Bettig at Blackhawk Quarry in Potter Township.

They allegedly followed through with the second plan on Aug. 12, which has resulted in Geier and Ishler facing charges of first- and third-degree murder, aggravated assault and tampering with evidence. She also faces a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

A text during the trip to Rehoboth Beach, according to an affidavit, revealed part of a conversation between Geier and Ishler.

Authorities say Geier texted Ishler, “So ready I am pissed off,” and she allegedly admitted to police that she was referring to being ready to kill Bettig. The professor, according to court documents, upset Geier when he critiqued how she was raising her son, allegedly prompting her to send the text.

Geier and Ishler allegedly persuaded Bettig to travel with them to the quarry by telling him they could harvest marijuana there. Ishler allegedly told Geier that the plants were so close to the edge that the professor might fall without being pushed. If the professor didn’t fall, according to what Geier allegedly told police, Ishler would “help” him.

Geier allegedly told police that she and Ishler agreed to two more decisions — to stage the scene with items, including Bettig’s car, to make it appear as if the professor was alone and to report him missing three days later.

The alleged killers told police on Aug. 15 that Bettig and his vehicle had been missing for three days. They allegedly said that Bettig may have traveled to California, according to court documents.

Bettig’s body was discovered two days later on Aug. 17 at the quarry.

According to Penn State’s website, Bettig joined the College of Communications in 1988 and was an associate professor of media studies. He taught courses on the political economy of communications and had authored at least two books on the subject.

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