Society

Two Charged In Penn State Professor's Death

| by Michael Doherty
Ronald BettigRonald Bettig

Two people have been charged in the death of a Penn State media studies professor, reportedly pushing him 80 feet off a cliff because they thought they were named in the professor's will.

Danielle Geier, 32, and George Ishler, 39, lured the professor, Ronald Bettig, to a quarry in Potter Township, Pennsylvania, by saying the group could harvest marijuana, reports the New York Daily News. The pair, who were friends with Bettig, are then accused of pushing the man off of a cliff in to the quarry because they thought Bettig had named them in a new version of his will.

Geier and Ishler, who police reported were "known drug users," allegedly initially planned to drown Bettig during a trip to the ocean, but instead allegedly decided to kill him in the quarry.

The pair also attempted to make the scene appear as if Bettig had been by himself, reports Daily Mail. Geier and Ishler, who were reported to be friends with Bettig, are alleged to have staged the scene by placing Bettig's bag, water bottles and a flashlight near the quarry, as well as his car.

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The two then went to police to tell them that Bettig and his car had gone missing, and suggested that he may have run away to California. The two became suspects when police found inconsistencies in their stories.

Before the professor's death, Geier is reported to have texted Ishler, "So ready I am pissed off," which police think was an indication that she was ready to murder Bettig after he had criticized the way she raised her son, according to New York Daily News.

A coworker said Bettig had been known as "the nutty professor" around campus among those who did not know him well, partly for his Socratic method teaching technique.

Dean Marie Hardin released a statement about Bettig's death:

We are deeply saddened by the loss. He was a part of the fabric of this College for many years. All except our very newest faculty and staff members very likely knew Ron, who was one of our longest-tenured faculty members.

Ishler was charged with first- and third-degree murder on Aug. 19. Geier, who was arraigned on Aug. 20, has been charged with murder, aggravated assault, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Daily News / Photo credit: Penn State University via Daily Mail

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