BERKS COUNTY, Pa. – There was nothing romantic about this marriage proposal in Berks County, Pa. On Halloween a Pennsylvania man snapped the neck of a female friend and beat her with a hatchet after the woman refused his proposal of marriage, reported NBC 10.
Christopher R. Tucker, 34, of Albany Township was charged with murder and criminal homicide in the vicious death of Tara M. Serino, 19.
Tucker reportedly asked Serino to marry him at his home in Berks County. She said no and told him that she was sleeping with other men, according to NBC 10. As a result, he told police that she told him that he should kill her, according to a criminal complaint. And he apparently followed through with the off-hand comment.
Consequently, police said Tucker confessed. He told them that he lost control and choked her. Yet even worse, he poked her eyes out and snapped her neck, police said, according to the station. The report said he then wrapped her in a rug and left.
Serino was last seen by her family early last Monday.
Authorities in Champaign County, Ill., picked Tucker up at a truck stop after he tried to break into a farmer’s combine and took him to a hospital for evaluation. There police executed an arrest warrant from Pennsylvania State Police.
Troopers searched Tucker’s home following his confession to detectives. When doing so they discovered Serino’s body. He’s being held in an Illinois jail.
Attorney information for Tucker was not immediately available. State police are working to extradite him back to Pennsylvania.
According to The Morning Call, the following details were included in the criminal complaint:
Serino left with Tucker at 12:38 a.m. Monday, telling her parents that she would call later to let them know she was fine. Serino never did, so her father, Fred Serino, called state police at Hamburg at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to have them check Tucker’s home on the 200 block of Roth Road and find his daughter. Troopers went to his home, but were unable to get in contact with anyone inside.
On Wednesday, Fred Serino said a person he didn’t know knocked on his door. The man identified himself as John Tucker, Christopher Tucker’s father.
John Tucker told Fred Serino that he had been contacted by a hospital in Illinois, letting him know that his son had been picked up at a rest stop in Iroquois County and was taken to the hospital for an evaluation. He also told Serino that some of his daughter’s belongings were in his son’s home and Tucker wanted to return them.
Tucker told Fred Serino that as far as he knew, Tara Serino wasn’t with his son in Illinois.
Later that day at 1:30 p.m., Fred Serino reported his daughter missing to Upper Macungie police, who classified her as endangered.
Upper Macungie police spoke to members of the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department, who told them about the arrest at the truck stop. Police said Christopher Tucker was arrested at 8:44 p.m. Tuesday, and when they first spoke to him, he was not making sense and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The sheriff’s department also said Tucker’s car was parked at the truck stop and no one was with him at the time of his arrest.
Upper Macungie police requested that detectives in Illinois interview Tucker to find out where Tara Serino was.
Tucker told the detectives that a few days earlier he had asked Serino to marry him. She declined his proposal, and told Tucker she was sleeping with other men and made a comment that he should just kill her.
Tucker then killed Serino, he told detectives, admitting he strangled her until he believed she was dead. He then poked her eyes out, snapped her neck and hit her with a hatchet until he knew she was dead, the records say.
He told the detectives he wrapped her in a rug and left.
After the hospital confession, Upper Macungie police contacted state troopers at the Hamburg barracks and asked them to go back to Tucker’s home. Two troopers entered the home and found Serino’s body wrapped in a blanket in the bedroom. The troopers backed out of the house, obtained a warrant and returned to search the home.
The troopers said the victim’s injuries were consistent with Tucker’s confession.
Moreover, besides the murder charges, Tucker is also charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime. Besides the hatchet, state police said Tucker also used a 25-pound weight plate in the killing.
Furthermore, the accused killer was no stranger to the criminal justice system. According to court records, he had been arrested days before the murder on DUI charges in Indiana County, Pa. State police arrested Tucker on Oct. 26 in West Wheatfield Township for driving more than 55 mph over the posted speed limit. Besides drunken driving, he was also charged with several traffic offenses and having marijuana and another controlled substance on him, court records show. He was released from jail the next day after posting bail.
The DUI arrest was his third, with the others in Lehigh and Northampton counties. In those arrests, he was under the influence of metabolites, court records show.
(Photo: Champaign County Sheriff’s Office)