WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Tragedy brought two families together.
And Wednesday, they found some peace in a guilty plea from the serial killer who shattered their worlds. Eyewitness News reporter Caroline Foreback was in the courtroom Wednesday and spoke exclusively with the victims’ families.
Harold Haulman III admitted he killed at least two women in Pennsylvania and he pleaded guilty to the brutal murders of Erica Shultz and Tianna Philips.
And police say they’re not his only victims. It’s been an emotional day for the families as they get a bit of closure today.
“Tianna was a one of a kind girl. He took my baby. But Tianna lives on,” Phillips’ mother, Wendy Shallenberger said.
“They just wanted friends and they trusted….They trusted the wrong person,” Shultz’s mother, Brenda Adams, said.
Wednesday, families of Shultz and Phillips came face-to-face with the women’s killer for the first time as Harold David Haulman III pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
“There are no words to explain what you go through when it’s something so horrific,” Adams said.
Police say Haulman met 26-year-old Erica Shultz of Bloomsburg online in December 2020. He drove her out to a wooded area off Hobbie Road in Butler Township, Luzerne County, where he bludgeoned and stabbed her to death.
Once police arrested Haulman and charged him with her murder, he admitted to killing Tianna Phillips of Berwick in June 2018. He also met Tianna online. He told Luzerne County detectives he picked up Tianna from her friend’s house, drove her to the same remote area and killed her the same way.
He told police six months after killing Tianna, he went back to the scene with his wife to collect her remains, which he put in a dumpster behind a local movie theater.
“He admitted to what he did to these girls. For somebody that can stand over young girls and watch them suffer as those girls did. It’s just not Tianna, it’s all three of them….It’s all three of them,” Shallenberger said.
Haulman is also charged with the murder of 21-year-old Ashley Parlier in western Michigan who disappeared in 2005. Luzerne County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Zola says his crimes go back even further.
“We found out that back in 1999-2000 he was living abroad in Germany and he had a criminal history there. He killed a young man in almost the exact same way these women were killed,” Zola said.
Judge Michael Vough said Haulman is evil and handed down two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
When asked: “In your gut, and your gut is pretty spot-on, do you think there are any more out there?” Phillips’ sister Toshia Feaster said: “Yes, absolutely. If you sentenced him to death, what if there’s more victims in his hands that he has yet to come forward about? Those families will never get answers.”
“He took three precious and beautiful young women from this world. After today he’s going to be forgotten and rot in a cell while our sisters, their light and their beauty is going to shine on forever,” Shultz’s sister Emily Corbin said.
Toshia said she always suspected Haulman was the reason her sister was gone and she spent years trying to prove it. Tianna’s body was never recovered.
Haulman will eventually be extradited to Michigan to answer for his other crimes.