Whitney Heichel murder suspect set to change plea in court - KPTV - FOX 12

Whitney Heichel murder suspect set to change plea in court

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Jonathan Holt Jonathan Holt
Whitney Heichel Whitney Heichel
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

A man accused of shooting and killing a 21-year-old Gresham woman in a case that generated national attention is scheduled to change his plea.

A plea change and sentencing hearing has been set for Jonathan Holt on July 2. He was arrested and charged with murder for the death of Whitney Heichel in October 2012.

Details of the plea agreement have not been released. Holt was set to face trial in April 2014.

Holt pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated murder, kidnapping and robbery. He has been kept behind bars with no bail since his arrest on Oct. 19, 2012.

The case started on Oct. 16 when Heichel's husband reported her missing after she didn't show up for work at Starbucks.

Police and search crews canvassed the community looking for her. The community generated dozens of tips for police.

Then, during a late night press conference on Oct. 19, Gresham police announced they had found Heichel's body on Larch Mountain and arrested a suspect.

Investigators said Holt admitted to police he waited outside Heichel's apartment and asked her for a ride on Oct. 16.

About five minutes into the ride, Holt told investigators he pulled a gun and forced her to drive to Roslyn Lake in Clackamas County. Once there, deputies said he forced Heichel to perform a sex act on him.

He is then accused of shooting and killing Heichel. Holt told investigators he disposed of his cellular phone at Roslyn Lake after the shooting and took Heichel's body and dumped it on Larch Mountain, detectives said.

Investigators said he then made up a story about being robbed at gunpoint on the way to work as an alibi, before finally confessing, according to court documents.

Holt's wife filed for divorce on the same day he pleaded not guilty in court. A judge finalized the divorce on Dec. 11.

Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Whitney Heichel's body was found on Larch Mountain three days after she disappeared between her Gresham apartment and the nearby Starbucks where she worked. More>>

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