CRIME
12/08/2014 03:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Man Video Recorded Sex With Slain Stepdaughter's Corpse: Prosecutor

Pennsylvania prosecutors have identified chilling evidence in the case of a man accused of killing his stepdaughter for sex.

Police said Gregory R. Graf, 53, admitted to shooting his 33-year-old stepdaughter, Jessica Padgett, and burying her behind a shed on the Northampton County property where he lives with the victim's mother. But prosecutors say they now have evidence of a shocking crime that confirms a motive in the brutal killing.

Investigators said Graf told them that he killed Padgett because he wanted to have sex with her, and that he'd sexually violated the woman's body after she died.

State police searched Graf's computer and found a video in which the suspect abuses his dead stepdaughter's body, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli told the Allentown Morning Call.

Morganelli filed a misdemeanor abuse of corpse charge against Graf on Dec. 5.

The Allentown Morning Call reports that the new evidence means it is not likely Graf will face the death penalty, since it suggests he did not rape her while she was still alive:

Under Pennsylvania law, a murder in perpetration of a felony is an aggravating factor that allows prosecutors to pursue capital charges. Rape rises to that level, but the sexual desecration of a corpse does not, as case law has established, Morganelli said.

Padgett went missing Nov. 21 after she left work at a day care center. Police say Padgett's mother was away in Florida at the time of the murder. Graf was arrested after her body was found five days later.

In a statement released last month, the dead woman's family said "[Padgett] was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was beloved by her family and friends."

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