- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

RONKS, Pa. (AP) - A man has been charged with killing his wife with a knife and an ax on Christmas Eve.

Dustin Lee Klopp punched Stephanie Kilhefner in the face, causing her to fall to the floor, and then cut her throat with a knife and struck her head with an ax multiple times Wednesday evening, state police said. He put her body in a bag in a shed on their Paradise Township property and tried to clean up the blood, they said.

Klopp is charged in Lancaster County with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse and evidence-tampering in the death of Kilhefner, who was 34.

Authorities said Klopp called state police on Christmas Day, told them about the body and arrived at the state police barracks in Lancaster about an hour later. They said police found the body shortly after the phone call.

LNP newspapers reported that before calling police Klopp had taken the couple’s two children to his parents’ home to celebrate Christmas.

District Attorney Craig Stedman declined to say what the couple argued about and said he didn’t know whether Klopp told anyone about his actions before he called police. He said homicide confessions usually are made by suspects who contend that they acted in self-defense.

“I can’t think of another one like this where (nearly a day goes by) and we get a phone call before we even know there’s a crime,” he told LNP.

Court documents don’t list an attorney for Klopp, and a listed telephone number for him couldn’t be found Friday.

Attorney Cory Miller, who represented Klopp in an unrelated case, said he was surprised when told of the homicide.

“They both seemed to be very level-headed individuals,” he told LNP. “… He never struck me as a violent individual.”

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