MAHANOY CITY - A husband and a wife are dead, neighbors are shocked, and the victims' families are in disbelief about the Christmas Day murder-suicide in Schuylkill County.
Neighbors said Richard and Stephanie Weikel of Mahanoy City seemed happy.They say the couple married over the summer.
But, investigators explain, on Christmas Day, something went terribly wrong. Police said Richard murdered his wife with a gun and then turned the weapon on himself in their 10th Street apartment.
"I didn't hear nothing," said neighbor Elvira Eavarone. "It's unusual for me because I hear stuff, and I wake up and get panicky, and I never heard nothing."
According to Mahanoy City police, Richard Weikel called his ex-wife and admitted to her that he just murdered his current wife, and because of that, he couldn't see himself being arrested and spending the rest of his life in jail.
What puzzles the victim's family is, hours before the shooting, the couple was at a Christmas party and nothing appeared wrong. Stephanie's father, Mike Siliekus, said he was there.
"There was no problem. We had a Christmas party. My wife's family, we usually get together Christmas Eve, and everything was fine, and I had no idea what happened."
Mike Siliekus said his daughter was a treasure.
"She worked at the Rite Aid. All the people loved her there. We couldn't walk by without people telling us what a wonderful daughter we had."
A deputy coroner who pronounced the couple dead says he can usually separate his job from his emotions. Dave Truskowsky said it was tough to do that in this case because it was Christmas Day.
"It's very difficult to determine what happened, why it happened. Why is the question everybody is going to be asking themselves forever, and sometimes there is no answer."
Stephanie's father said he hopes for an answer some day.
"This is senseless. I am sorry I can't do anymore of this. I have to make funeral arrangements."