Homicide defendant: I love victim 'more now than ever before'

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the Easton woman charged with killing her ex-boyfriend and father of their children as he lay asleep in his bed, a man she says she loves "more now than ever before" in a letter to The Morning Call.

Police say Elizabeth Collazo shot and killed Mark Werkheiser early on the morning of March 15 in the Williams Township home she once shared with him. Authorities say Collazo shot Werkheiser six times with a handgun she had stolen from him, then fled to New York with their two sons.

The day of the killing, the couple were scheduled for a custody hearing at Northampton County Courthouse in Easton, the latest episode in the battle over their four children.

On Wednesday, a prosecutor said the district attorney's office is seeking the death penalty, which requires a first-degree murder conviction and at least one aggravating circumstance. First Deputy District Attorney Terence Houck said Collazo committed another felony — breaking into Wekheiser's house — before killing him.

After Collazo's arrest March 27, The Morning Call sent an interview request to Collazo at Northampton County Prison. Collazo responded by sending a reporter three letters, postmarked April 16, April 27 and May 10.

In the April 27 letter, she said she could not answer specific questions about the killing or her whereabouts in the two weeks between the slaying and her arrest in an Easton hotel. Authorities have not released details about Collazo's arrest.

But the letters, often rambling and with numerous misspellings, dwell on her long relationship with Werkheiser — the couple's oldest children are in high school. Though separated since last summer, she refers to herself as Werkheiser's common-law wife.

"I have never loved Mark more now than ever before!!" she wrote April 27. "He knows the truth now, he finally feels the love I felt for him. The love I feel for my children. And all the love that was shown to him unconditionally at the time of his death."

She writes frequently of her faith in Jesus and implies that Werkheiser will find comfort in heaven with members of her family who have died.

"My aunts and uncles and mama ... are all loving him and with all this rain, they are all shaking up heaven with the biggest party for him," she wrote.

She wrote that she never tried to change Werkheiser and accepted him for who he was.

"I will not shame my husband not in life and not in death. But I will say this: It was unfortunate that he felt he was unworthy of unconditional love," the letter states. "He rejected it. With in this rejection, his mind narrowed …"

The May 10 letter hints that family members are not allowing her contact with her children.

"Everyone is hurting," she writes. "Why if there best interest is in fact your main concern would they be kept from communicating with all of there family and friends.

"It is unfortunate that my babies have to morn for two parents …"

Collazo's letters all include self-portraits, scribbled drawings that show a smiling face framed with long curls.

"This is how I want to be remembered," Collazo wrote beside the drawing in the brief introductory letter from April 16. "It's OK for you to laugh. ... It will keep you young at heart and keep your sole pure."

Collazo is scheduled for a formal arraignment on Thursday morning at the courthouse.


Reporter Riley Yates contributed to this story.