The Murder Of Jason Sweeney

The murder of Jason Sweeney shocked a Pennsylvania town when the people responsible turned out to be a bunch of teenagers including the girl he was dating Justina Morley and a friend from childhood

Jason Sweeney was on the right path with a stable job and income plus he was dating a new girl Justina Morley. Unfortunately for Jason he did not realize that Justina was using him and sleeping with his friends

Jason Sweeney and Justina Morley would set up a date for the day that he was murdered. When Jason was walking into the woods to meet Justina he would be jumped by three teens: Edward Batzig Jr and two brothers, Nicholas and Domenic Coia.

Jason Sweeney would be brutally assaulted and was struck numerous times with an axe before a large rock was used to crush his skull

The three attackers plus Justina Morley would steal the money in his pocket which they would later blow on drugs and jewelry

It did not take long for the four to be arrested and Justina Morley would quickly turn against the others in exchange for a reduced sentence

Edward Batzig Jr, Nicholas Coia and Domenic Coia would all be found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

Justina Morley would receive a reduced sentence and in 2020 she would be released from prison

Jason Sweeney Killers Photos

Domenic Coia

Domenic Coia

Nicholas Coia

Nicholas Coia

Edward Batzig Jr

Justina Morley

Justina Morley

Jason Sweeney Killers FAQ

Jason Sweeney Case

Jason Sweeney, 16, was a brown-haired, easygoing teenager who loved working beside his father on construction jobs. His best friend was Eddie Batzig, a bespectacled 16-year-old. The girl he wanted to bring home to meet his mother was pale, slender Justina Morley, 15.

On the evening of May 30, Justina allegedly lured Jason to the Trails, a wooded area of the working-class Fishtown section of Philadelphia along the Delaware River. She promised him sex.

The two were undressing when Eddie allegedly appeared with a hatchet. With him were two other teenage boys Jason knew. One was armed with a hammer.

According to the confession of Dominic Coia, who appeared in court recently, Jason was beaten savagely and fatally. The three young men are charged as adults with murder along with Morley, who police say was part of the plot.

As Jason lay dying, Coia told police, “We took Sweeney’s wallet out and split up the money, and we partied beyond redemption.” But first, he said, the teens shared “a group hug–it was like we were all happy with what we did.”

Like any big city, Philadelphia is accustomed to almost daily murders, some of them brutal, some committed by teenagers. But this one was different, and the accused teens’ apparent callousness and utter lack of remorse have shocked the city.

The accused killers were not high on drugs. The killing was not random. It was not a crime of passion or self-defense or a drug deal gone bad.

A police detective testified that he asked Coia, 18, whether he was high on drugs during the murder. “No, I was as sober as I am now,” he replied. “It is sick, isn’t it?”

The killers planned the crime several days in advance, according to police. They sent Morley as “the bait,” Coia told police. As Sweeney lay unconscious after the first blows, they smashed his face at least a dozen times. They left with Sweeney’s $500 weekly salary, which they spent on heroin, marijuana and the depressant Xanax.

To prepare for the killing that day, Coia told police, “we must have listened to `Helter Skelter’ about 42 times.” Mass murderer Charles Manson said the Beatles song inspired him and his followers during their 1969 killing spree in Los Angeles.

Batzig, who had been Sweeney’s best friend since 4th grade, told a detective that he hit his friend’s face four or five times with a hatchet, according to court testimony.

“Jason started begging for his life, but we just kept hitting him,” Batzig told police.

At a preliminary hearing June 17, no explanation was offered for why the killers did not simply rob Jason. Jason’s father, Paul Sweeney, thinks he knows why.

“Jealousy,” he said last week in the kitchen of his Fishtown row house. “They were jealous that Jason was moving past them, growing beyond them as a good person. He wasn’t hooked on drugs like the rest of them, and they wanted vengeance.”

Coia abused heroin, marijuana and alcohol, according to his lawyer, Lee Mandell. Morley, Batzig and Coia’s brother, Nicholas, 16, abused heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs, according to court testimony.

On the day of the killing, Dominic Coia told police that the killers left the house to hide in the woods as Morley lured Jason to the site. They put on latex gloves, Coia said.

They counted down “three, two, one,” Coia said, and then they attacked.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2003-06-29-0306290275-story.html

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