Six Dead in Montgomery County Shooting Spree
Former marine and Iraq veteran Bradley Stone committed suicide after murdering ex-wife Nicole Hill and five of her family members, leaving a seventh victim with serious injuries. Lone survivor Anthony Flick remains hospitalized with a skull fracture, three severed fingers, and other injuries sustained in an attempt to defend himself and his family members against Stone. Stone had a history of DUI and reportedly suffered from severe post traumatic stress disorder, though his psychiatrist said that Stone did not exhibit homicidal or suicidal tendencies as recently as December 8, just one week before the shootings.
Former Marine Bradley Stone Murders Six, Injures One
Bradley Stone once resided on Fourth Street in the quiet town of Pennsburg, a normally sleepy community with a population of less than 4,000. During the late night hours of Monday, December 15, Stone left his house on Fourth Street and traveled to the nearby town of Souderton, home to his ex-wife’s sister, her husband, and their two teenage children, ages 14 and 17.
At approximately 3:30 A.M., Stone attacked the family with two handguns and one knife, killing mother Trish, father Aaron, and daughter Nina. Son Anthony Flick barely survived the attack, requiring immediate hospitalization at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia for critical stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head. Friends and family have since launched a GoFundMe fundraiser dubbed “Funds for Flick” to help raise money for his recovery. So far, Funds for Flick has raised well over $10,000 in support and doesn’t seem to be slowing.
Approximately an hour later, around 4:30 A.M., Stone traveled to Lansdale and killed his ex-wife’s mother, Jo Anne Koder, and 75-year-old grandmother, Patricia Hill.
Roughly 30 minutes later, Stone arrived at ex-wife Nicole Hill’s residence in the Harleysville section of Lower Salford. Noise during the attack alerted Hill’s neighbors, who then observed Stone leaving Hill’s apartment with his two daughters.
Hill’s neighbors report that one of the daughters said, “Mommy no. We need my mom. I want my mom.” When the neighbors asked what was going on, Stone reportedly responded, “She’s hurt pretty bad, we have to leave,” before speeding away without further explanation. Upon examining the scene, police later discovered two bullet holes in Hill’s apartment walls.
Stone then returned to Pennsburg and left the girls in the care of one of his neighbors prior to the massive manhunt which followed. After failing to find their target at a suspected home in Pennsburg, police responded to a possible sighting of Stone around 8:00 P.M. in Doylestown the day after the murders. A police caller reported an assault and car theft by an armed man wearing camouflage, presumably Stone, though police later reported the sighting “did not appear to be valid.”
The Philadelphia Police Department then joined the search effort, contributing a helicopter and K-9 unit to the pursuit, while advising locals to stay locked inside their homes.
By the time police finally located Stone in the woods of Pennsburg, it was too late to make an arrest. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman described Stone’s cause of death as “self-inflicted cutting wounds” to his torso and stomach area. Stone also had a leg injury, and a bottle of pills was found near his body.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office disputed the cause of death as “self-inflicted cutting wounds,” also ruling out shooting, and is waiting on a toxicology report to confirm the precise manner of Stone’s death.
Why Did Stone Have Access to Weapons?
Friends, family, and attorneys alike are struggling to piece together the motivations behind the murders.
“This isn’t the Brad that I know,” said Matthew Schafte, a close friend who had known Stone for more than two decades. Schafte said he “couldn’t believe it,” describing Stone as “a laid back guy” and “a decorated veteran who would do anything for his country, anything for anybody.” Schafte added that Stone was “going through some things with his kids, but that’s about it.”
More specifically, Stone was engaged in a contentious custody battle with ex-wife Nicole Hill since their divorce in 2009. Hill’s neighbor, Evan Weron, stated, “[Nicole] came into the house a few times, a few separate occasions, crying about how [the custody battle] was very upsetting to her. She would tell anybody who would listen that he was going to kill her, and that she was really afraid for her life.”
Stone also had a history of DUI, with three drunk driving arrests noted on his record. Should he have been able to purchase the .40 caliber handgun he bought in 2011? Under the terms of his probation agreement, the answer was no.
“Mr. Stone did not have a record of violence, and he showed no violent tendencies while in the program. Our court community is at a loss to explain his actions,” wrote Judge William Furber Jr., who both presides over Montgomery County’s probation department and heard Stone’s most recent DUI case in 2013. Judge Furber Jr. declined to issue any additional statements, citing ethical reasons. The Montgomery County DA says the investigation is ongoing.
If you’ve been charged with DUI or probation violation, call the Montgomery County criminal defense lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.