Heaton Pleads Guilty to Access Device Fraud, Related Charges

Rodney Heaton

LOCK HAVEN –  A Lock Haven man is scheduled for sentencing in Clinton County later this month after admitting he used bank and food stamp cards from a woman whose death he concealed for more than a year.

Rodney Lee Heaton, 53, recently entered a guilty plea to multiple counts including forgery, identity theft, access device fraud and theft; a receiving stolen property charge was dismissed. Sentencing was set for July 24 and Heaton was returned to prison in default of $100,000 bail.

Heaton faced 750 criminal charges in relation to what originally had been termed the “suspicious” death of a Lock Haven woman. The theft-related charges were consolidated by Clinton County District Attorney David Strouse in March, the aggregate amount of the theft $12,170.

Heaton had been arrested in late December and accused by Lock Haven police of using the bank and Access cards of Teresa Hannah Hill, 59, the woman whose decomposed body was found wrapped in carpeting at her Corning St. residence on Dec. 22 of last year.  City police said Heaton had been using her identity since she died in July 2015.

After an autopsy on the woman county coroner Zach Hanna said the cause of death was “probable acute multi-drug effect,” the manner of death undetermined. Strouse later said there is no indication of foul play. Heaton had told authorities he shared an apartment with Hill, went away, and returned to find her dead.