Suspect in Butler Twp. homicide admits to second murder

·7 min read

May 15—A man charged last year with the murder of a Columbia County woman was charged Friday in another killing.

Harold David Haulman III met both victims through online dating applications and bludgeoned and stabbed them in the same patch of woods off Hobbie Road in Butler Twp. some 2 1/2 years apart, according to police.

His latest arrest involves the death of Tianna A. Phillips, of Berwick, a mother of two who grew up in Snyder County and who went missing on June 13, 2018, at age 25.

State police at Hazleton and Luzerne County detectives investigated, but Phillips' remains were never found. Investigators were told Haulman tossed them in a dumpster at AMC Classic Bloomsburg II, a movie theater along Route 11 in Scott Twp.

The charges were filed Friday morning as Haulman was scheduled to appear before Magisterial District Judge Daniel O'Donnell, Butler Twp., for a preliminary hearing in the murder of Erica Shultz, 26, of Bloomsburg, who went missing in early December. He waived his right to that proceeding for charges of homicide, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse Friday.

He was arrested for Shultz's murder Dec. 27, the day Shultz's remains were found, and has been in jail since. Bail isn't available in a homicide case.

Among the evidence against Haulman is an alleged confession letter his estranged wife gave investigators concerning the Phillips murder, court paper state.

Police said he was living in Duncannon, Perry County, when the murders happened and eventually admitted to killing Shultz and Phillips, while alluding to a third. During a Jan. 4 interview, Haulman asked if the cases of Shultz, Phillips and Ashley M. Parlier would be combined, stating he wasn't interested in a trial.

Parlier, then 21, went missing in Calhoun County, Michigan, in 2005. Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Daniel Zola said Haulman is a suspect in that case.

According to Fox 17 in Michigan, authorities were still searching for her remains as of March. Published reports state Parlier had a mental capacity younger than her age and was last seen at her parents home.

Also, Haulman was charged with manslaughter in Germany in the 1990s, Zola said.

Zola, after Friday's proceedings, thanked the team of law enforcement and attorneys who worked on the local cases against Haulman, saying it spared the Shultz family from the trauma of the hearing. The investigation also involved Bloomsburg and Berwick police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Columbia County District Attorney's Office.

Tianna Phillips

According to arrest papers:

Phillips was entered into the National Crime Information Center database as a missing person Aug. 21, 2018, after being reported missing to Berwick police that day by a cousin.

Police learned Phillips was in a tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend, which included multiple break-ups, but was also dating Haulman, who picked her up at a friend's Ninth Street apartment in Berwick on June 13, 2018, after Phillips argued with her boyfriend.

Phillips' sister, Toshia A. Feaster, said Phillips and Haulman dated for about a year.

After Phillips went missing, Feaster made multiple attempts to find her, including creating a Facebook page called "Bring Home Tianna," but credible information was never culled from it. When she messaged Haulman, he told her he didn't know where Phillips was.

In an Aug. 20, 2018, conversation, Feaster wrote, "She's been missing for 3 months. If no location is found today she will be labeled a missing person and you will be a person of interest. So whatever it is you know you need to speak up now."

The next day Haulman said he couldn't remember the last time he saw her, relating that they last spoke when he offered to give her a ride, but while on his way she called to cancel.

When Feaster said other people last saw Phillips with Haulman, Haulman replied, "Well the person saying that is lying. I only met her once over a year ago and she doesn't even know who I am. But if they want to look at me, that's fine. I have nothing to hide."

He'd tell Berwick police the same thing, adding that he was a truck driver from Michigan.

Haulman and his wife, Anne, separated in July 2020. She was aware of his extra-martial affairs and, over the course of multiple interviews, provided police with information.

She said Haulman grew angry when he learned Phillips' boyfriend called her June 10, 2018, to report Phillips and Haulman were still together. The wife said she saw him searching online for locations to kill Phillips but never thought he'd follow through until Haulman showed her pictures of what she believed was a dead woman after the June call.

Haulman brought his horrified wife to Hobbie Road in September 2018 to collect evidence from Phillips' body. On the way, he bought garbage bags. Anne believed she had no choice but to cooperate and stayed in the car while Haulman went into the woods.

He returned about 20 minutes later with a filled bag, saying it contained Phillips' body, and then drove around, eventually throwing it in the movie theatre dumpster.

Haulman threatened Anne on multiple occasions and, by the summer of 2020, their relationship ended. Haulman wanted to reconcile a few months later, giving Anne greeting cards and a confession letter he said he penned to assure her he would never hurt her.

Anne gave that letter to police.

The letter, addressed "To Whom it May Concern," stated:

"On June 13th 2018 I drove to Berwick Pa and picked up Tiana Ann Phillips and took her for a drive. We ended up somewhere in the woods east of Berwick Pa. After walking into the woods I pulled a knive from my pocket and attacked her from behind cutting her throat. As she gasped for her last breath of air I stabbed her repeatedly in the side of the neck, back and arms. I then returned to the crime scene months later and retrieved any and all evidence and disposed of it in a dumpster, not sure exactly where. I Harold David Haulman III committed this crime on my own and of my own free will, David Haulman."

Erica Shultz

Over two years later, on Dec. 2, Shultz asked a friend to put a tracking application on her phone after expressing concern about "Dave," whom she planned to meet in three days.

Haulman would sent her two messages before her phone activity ceased Dec. 4: "surprise" and "knock knock."

Family reported Shultz missing Dec. 6 when she didn't show for a shift at Weis Markets in Bloomsburg. She never contacted family and hadn't used her bank accounts since then.

Police used phone records to find Haulman and Shultz in the area of Shultz's apartment Dec. 4, before driving on Interstate 80 toward Milton.

Then her phone was disconnected.

FBI agents interviewed Haulman in Battle Creek, Michigan, on Dec. 23. When he didn't arrived for a follow-up interview the next day, they learned he was back in Duncannon professing his love for his wife.

It was Dec. 26 when a Norfolk Southern Railway Police officer saw Haulman walking along railroad tracks in Duncannon. Haulman "hacked" his arm with a box cutter when he saw the officer, saying he needed "to die for (his) sins."

He was taken to a hospital, and that's when he told police the location of Shultz's body.

Haulman said Shultz agreed to go with him for a ride to Hobbie Road. They walked into the woods and he hit her with a mallet-type hammer. She fell to the ground and he continued to hit her and stabbed her with a 3-inch knife. Cell phone records show he was in the area for more than 40 minutes.

He tossed her phone off an Interstate 80 bridge near Milton.

While being interviewed about Schulz's disappearance, Haulman admitted to picking up Phillips in Berwick and thought to himself, "I may as well get this over with and that's when it hit me. I need help."

He drove Phillips to Hobbie Road, telling her they would build a campfire. As they walked into the woods, he hit her in the head with a metal hammer from behind. She fell and he continued to hit her before cutting her throat. He stabbed her multiple times before throwing the hammer and knife into the Susquehanna River in Northumberland County.

Contact the writer: achristman@standardspeaker.com; 570-501-3584