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Man Convicted of Killing His Wife in One State Has Now Been Convicted in 1995 Murder of His Teen Daughter in Another State: Prosecutors

Robert Honsch (Ohio AG's Office)

Robert Honsch. (Image via the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.)

A 78-year-old man already convicted of killing his wife in Massachusetts was found guilty this week of killing his daughter in Connecticut nearly three decades ago. A jury on Thursday returned a guilty verdict against Robert Honsch for the 1995 murder of his 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth Honsch, whose body was found with a gunshot wound to the head, wrapped in garbage bags, and discarded in a parking lot, prosecutors announced.

Honsch was arrested in 2014 and charged with the murder of his first wife, 53-year-old Marcia Honsch. Marcia’s body was discovered near the entrance to the Tolland State Forest Park in Massachusetts in October 1995, eight days after Elizabeth was found dead. Both women died from gunshot wounds to the head. A jury in Massachusetts found Honsch guilty of murdering Marcia in 2017.

According to a press release from the New Britain State Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, Honsch in September 1995 shot his daughter in the head then stuffed her body inside of a sleeping bag. He then covered the sleeping bag in several large garbage bags. The body was then left in the parking lot of a shopping plaza located in the 500 block of Hartford Road in New Britain. The girl’s remains were discovered on Sept. 28, 1995 approximately 40 miles from where hikers would find the body of her mother a little more than a week later. Police estimated that Elizabeth had been dead for approximately one week.

At the time of the murders, the Honsch family had been living in Brewster, New York, NBC affiliate WVIT reported.  Brewster is about an hour west-southwest of New Britain; both municipalities are along the Interstate 84 corridor.

Investigators at the time were unable to immediately identify the two women’s remains because neither had been reported missing.  Neither body was accompanied by any form of identification.  They were known publicly as Jane Does for nearly two decades.

In the immediate aftermath of the murders, prosecutors say Honsch cooked up a fake story.  They say he told family members that he, his wife, and his daughter were moving abroad.

“Evidence established that shortly after the murder, Honsch went to the homes of family members and told them that Marcia and Elizabeth had gone to Australia ahead of him and he would be following them due to a job transfer,” New Britain State’s Attorney Brian W. Preleski said in the release. “Shortly thereafter, Robert Honsch fled to South Africa and came back to the United States years later.”

However, investigators in 2014 got a break in the case that helped them identify the bodies as Marcia and Elizabeth Honsch, prosecutors said. Once the bodies were identified, investigators were able to link the murders back to Honsch using DNA and fingerprint evidence, prosecutors continued.

Honsch in 2014 lived in Dalton, Ohio where he had married another woman with whom he had three children, per prosecutors. He had been living under the name Robert Tyree.

A Massachusetts judge sentenced Honsch to serve a sentence of life in prison for Marcia’s murder. He is scheduled to appear in Connecticut Superior Court before Judge Laura F. Baldini on June 15, 2022 to be sentenced. He had previously rejected a 2019 deal from prosecutors that would have required him to plead guilty to Elizabeth’s murder in exchange for a 25-year sentence, per CT Insider.

[image via Ohio Attorney General’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.