34-year-old Dustin Lee Klopp of Paradise Township, PA did not seem like the violent type per his previous attorney, Cory Miller, who said he was surprised by the murder. Klopp had a previous criminal history that included arrests for drugs, DUI, resisting arrest, burglary, and simple assault.
The Klopp family apparently was not living peacefully as Klopp admits to police that a domestic argument occurred the night of the murder. He also posted a Facebook post in October stating, “This is just a little reminder to all those out there who bully what you say or do cannot be reversed the damage it leaves is perminate [sic].” Did Klopp believe his wife was a bully? Was she?
Police are still investigating but here is what we know so far: Klopp killed his wife of 3 years, 34-year-old Stephanie Kilhefner, on Christmas Eve. He knocked her unconscious during an argument, slit her throat with a knife, and then split her skull with an axe. He then bagged her body and hid it in a shed before cleaning up the crime scene. Klopp then took his children, ages 2 and 5, to his parents’ house for Christmas dinner. It is not believed that the children were aware of their mother’s death or witnessed anything.
Klopp then called police on Christmas Day. When they arrived he showed them the body but did not confess what he had done. However, only 30 minutes later he drove to the state police barracks with his father to turn himself in. The details given above were obtained from Klopp in a confession to police. Klopp told authorities that his wife was still alive when he struck her in the head with the axe. An autopsy will be conducted on Monday.
Klopp has been charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence. He is currently being held without bail at the Lancaster County Jail. Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman said, “It’s chilling – just awful. The timing makes it worse. Then you put kids in the mix and it makes it even more difficult. Christmas for them is ruined forever.”