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Man pleads guilty but mentally ill to kidnapping, murdering teen in Indiana County

Police: Missing Indiana County teen was kidnapped and killed
Police: Missing Indiana County teen was kidnapped and killed 02:42

INDIANA, Pa. (KDKA) -- A 20-year-old who was one of several young adults charged in the kidnapping and killing of a teenager in Indiana County pleaded guilty but mentally ill.

Taylyn Edwards of Johnstown pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping, graded as a felony of the first degree, the Indiana County district attorney announced on Friday. First-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the opportunity for parole.  

Edwards was one of seven young adults charged with kidnapping and homicide in the October 2022 death of 19-year-old Hayden Garreffa. A 14-year-old girl was also charged with kidnapping.

The body of missing 19-year-old Hayden Garreffa was found in Brush Valley Township, Indiana County.  (Photo: Provided)

Police said Hayden Garreffa's body was found in Brush Valley Township two days after he was reported missing from his grandmother's East Wheatfield Township home. 

Investigators said eight suspects showed up at Garreffa's home and forced him into a van. He was stabbed to death minutes later, police said. 

The Indiana County District Attorney's Office said the court can accept a guilty but mentally ill plea if the defendant presents sufficient evidence that they were suffering from mental illness at the time of the crime. The plea doesn't change the grading of an offense or the sentencing guidelines on mandatory sentences, the DA's office explained.

A defendant who pleads guilty but mentally ill will receive psychiatric or psychological treatment. 

 A sentence hearing for Edwards is schedule for June 19.

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