State police are providing new details about the investigation into Friday’s homicide in South Fork.
According to the affidavit, 22-year-old Austin Kline had reportedly hired the victim, 55-year-old Richard Morgan, to help him with some excavation work at a residence along the 700 block of Lake Street, in South Fork Borough.
“This absolutely did not need to happen. It’s senseless. There is obviously no place for this in our community or any community,”
Police say after the work was completed, Kline claimed that he then asked Morgan to “look at a few other jobs” that he reportedly wanted done at other properties in Blair and Cambria counties.
Investigators say, according to Kline, the victim told him that one of the jobs was “larger than what he wanted to take on,” and added that he would “need to think about the other job” before committing to doing it.
Police say Kline initially claimed that Morgan dropped him off at his residence in South Fork, between 5:30 and 6 p.m. on Thursday, and planned to return the next day to assist with the originally planned excavation work.
Authorities say on Thursday night, the victim’s family reported him missing after he failed to return home.
Upon further investigation, police discovered that the victim’s phone had been turned off sometime Thursday evening and had last pinged near a cell tower in the area of the 700 block of Munster Road.
Police say authorities also learned of the excavation job he was hired to do and a search was conducted at Kline’s South Fork residence.
Investigators say that while searching the home, a K9 unit discovered blood on the garage door.
Troopers also noted that police observed a “recent” injury to Kline’s left hand that would be consistent with a physical altercation.
Authorities say that while searching the garage area, police discovered Morgan’s body, along with a landscape tamper (tool) that was covered in hair and blood.
“It was very much a specific, targeted act. It wasn’t random. The public we don’t believe was ever in any risk,”
Police say when questioned, Kline admitted to shooting Morgan, multiple times, with a .380 caliber handgun and then striking him with the landscaping tool “in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.”
Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer stated that the crime scene was “very much a gruesome scene, and was very hard to see.”
Police noted that Kline also admitted to “dumping” the victim’s vehicle along Route 219, near the Route 53 exit.
Kline faces charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse, online court records show.
“The takeaway is always be careful of your surroundings. Know who you’re dealing with. Law enforcement is going to everything we can to bring the perpetrators of this type of violence to justice,”
He is being held at the Cambria County Prison and his bail was denied.