Suspect in Heike’s murder took plea deal for armed robbery of gift cards at Phoenix Circle K stores

Records show he robbed two Circle K stores six times and that an employee even transferred to a different location because of how often he did this.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 1:12 PM MST|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 3:25 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- More information is coming to light regarding the criminal history of the man accused of murdering Lauren Heike. Court records show that 22-year-old Zion William Teasley took a plea deal in 2020 after repeatedly robbing two Circle K stores in north Phoenix.

Court documents obtained by Arizona’s Family showed that Teasley took a plea deal that dropped 10 of 13 felonies in 2021 after a string of incidents before his arrest in 2020. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to four years of probation and entered a guilty plea for robbery, disorderly conduct and armed robbery, all classified as “non-dangerous; non-repetitive.” He served 16 months in an Eloy prison before being released in November 2022. He had spent a year in jail before that while awaiting his sentencing.

Arresting documents revealed that Teasley walked into Circle K stores at least four times between May 2020 and July 2020, where he would demand the clerk to load multiple $200 Google Play cards in all instances, but reportedly stole tobacco, beer or cash depending on the day. Witnesses say he would disguise himself by covering his face and wearing camo or other dark clothing. Once arrested, he admitted to detectives that he made the clerk load the cards and admitted to having an armed handgun in at least one instance.

Police say those robberies happened along Thunderbird Road at the convenience store locations near 40th Street and Tatum Boulevard. That places those crimes about six miles from where he is alleged to have attacked and stabbed Lauren Heike more than a dozen times, ultimately killing her.

Prior to his arrest in 2020, Teasley tried to join the military. The U.S. Marine Corps confirms that Teasley entered recruit training in March of 2019 but left less than three months later before completing boot camp. The USMC did not release additional details, citing privacy concerns.