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Woman beaten to death in lesbian romance

September 16, 1997 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A young woman was bludgeoned to death by her three lesbian roommates and another woman, apparently for disrupting the household by starting a romance with one of them, investigators say.

The body of Stacey Hanna, 19, was found face down in the mud July 27 in the woods. She had been beaten beyond recognition, her throat slashed and her skull fractured.

The other women were involved romantically with one another, and Ms. Hanna, who had moved to Lynchburg from Richmond only three weeks earlier, may have become intimate with at least one of them, investigators said.

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The women believed Ms. Hanna ``was interfering in their relationships and had told lies to them,″ Chesterfield County Detective Dave Zeheb testified at a pretrial hearing Monday.

Ms. Hanna’s roommates _ Domica Winkler, 18, Tracy Bitner, 19, and Kelly Tibbs, 18 _ were indicted Monday on charges of capital murder, abduction and robbery. Stephanie Cull, 18, was charged with murder and abduction.

Ms. Winckler, accused of throwing a cinderblock at Ms. Hanna, told investigators that ``there are times when people need to die, and this is one of those times,″ Detective Rick Mormando testified.

Ms. Hanna was taken out for what she thought would be some beer-drinking in the woods. The women planned just to beat her but began to worry she would go to police, so they killed her, Zeheb said.