A Michigan man accused of targeting numerous women as a serial killer pleaded guilty to two of those murders on Wednesday.
Harold David Haulman III, 43, began the process of accepting legal culpability in a Luzerne County, Pa. court for the December 2020 kidnapping and killing of 26-year-old Erica Shultz as well as the summer 2018 kidnapping and killing of 25-year-old Tianna Phillips.
Both of the women were bludgeoned and stabbed to death.
“You are evil,” Luzerne County President Judge Michael Vough told the killer, according to The Daily Item. “I usually tell people when they are sentenced good luck, but I will not do that with you. Instead, I hope you sit every day and think about what you heard here today.”
According to local ABC affiliate WNEP, Haulman, a transient truck driver, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the first degree during the hearing in which family members of the victims testified as to the impact of the murders.
Haulman’s plea deal will result in two automatic life sentences. It is unclear if the sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently. He will avoid the death penalty.
The defendant did not face the families during the proceedings.
“It was very emotional as more than two dozen people showed up for this hearing,” WNEP journalist Chelsea Strub observed. “Statements were read filled with tears and disgust for what he did and what he put these families through.”
After the proceedings, some family members spoke out against the homeless man who violently took their loved ones away.
“Tianna was a one of a kind girl,” Wendy Shallenberger, the mother of the first-in-time victim (and the second the murderer admitted to), told local CBS affiliate WYOU. “He took my baby. But Tianna lives on.”
“They just wanted friends and they trusted,” Shultz’s mother, Brenda Adams, told the outlet. “They trusted the wrong person.”
As Law&Crime previously reported, Haulman has also been charged with the murder of 21-year-old Ashley Parlier by authorities in his home state of Michigan. The pregnant woman disappeared in Battle Creek, Mich. in 2005 and her body has never been recovered. Haulman, who allegedly confessed to killing Parlier, reportedly “researched serial killers, Hannibal Lector and ‘Silence of the Lambs'” after the slaying, according to the Daily Item.
Luzerne County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Zola believes the three women are just the beginning of Haulman’s crimes.
“We found out that back in 1999-2000 he was living abroad in Germany and he had a criminal history there,” the prosecutor told WYOU. “He killed a young man in almost the exact same way these women were killed.”
Authorities say they learned about the admitted killer’s past by way of his interview with Shikellamy School District Police Chief Shawn Williams, a former state trooper and Luzerne County detective. According to court documents, Haulman admitted to killing Parlier and a man named Joseph Whitehurst, in Germany, in 1999.
“It was the biggest rush I ever felt,” Haulman allegedly told police. “Like your whole body. To this day I don’t know how many times I hit him and then I was gone.”
The murderer also allegedly said that he checked up on Parlier and Phillips long after the slayings in order to check on them but that all he found were “bones.”
Police say Haulman expressed some regret for killing Phillips but that he was overcome by the urge to kill again. The killer, however, said Shultz’s murder was “like a day in the park.”
Haulman confirmed that he would have likely killed again had he not been caught, police claim.
When asked what incident he remembered most, he allegedly said: “All of them, I remember in great detail what I did to them.”
[image via Luzerne County Sheriff’s Office]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]