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Criminal Justice

17-year-old charged in killings of North Catasauqua mother, daughter

Houck glass news conference.jpg
Tom Shortell
Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck announced on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 criminal homicide charges against 17-year-old John Bradley for the deaths of his ex-girlfriend, 16-year-old Rianna Glass, and her mother Rosalyn Glass.

  • Police have charged John Bradley, 17, with criminal homicide for the deaths of Rosalyn and Rianna Glass
  • Authorities say Bradley is the ex-boyfriend of Rianna Glass, 16. Police are also exploring reports that Bradley may have threatened Rianna Glass with a knife days before the killings
  • Police are investigating the role of a 14-year-old Orefield girl who they say left the murder scene with Bradley

EASTON, Pa. — A 17-year-old North Whitehall Township boy has been charged with killing his 16-year-old ex-girlfriend and her mother in last week's North Catasauqua double homicide, Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck announced Tuesday.

John Derwin Bradley fatally strangled and stabbed Rianna Glass, a Northampton Area School District junior, and fatally stabbed 39-year-old Rosalyn Glass in the Glasses' home on the 1100 block of Railroad Street, police said.

Rianna Glass and Bradley had broken up in August, and she informed him Wednesday night she was entering a new relationship, Houck said.

Hours after learning of the new relationship, video surveillance showed Bradley outside the home around 9:11 p.m. Wednesday, and Rianna Glass texted a friend around 12:42 a.m. Thursday that Bradley "would not leave the house."

MORE: More on the mother and teen girl who died

Video evidence also showed a 14-year-old Orefield girl arrived at the home around 2:33 a.m., and she and Bradley left in Rosalyn Glass' silver Nissan Murano, Houck said.

Around 5:53 a.m., Upper Saucon Township police responded to a single-car crash involving the Nissan near 2093 Spring Valley Road. Both teens were ejected from the vehicle, Houck said. The 14-year-old was rushed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she remains in serious condition, Houck said. Police have not been able to speak with her and would not comment on her level of involvement in the homicides.

At the scene of the crash, police found a double-edged knife with a red stain, police said. Police tested DNA found on the blade, and it matched the profiles of Rianna Glass, Rosalyn Glass and Bradley, according to Houck.

The lacerations on the victims' bodies were consistent with a double-edged knife, Houck said.

MORE: Watch the news conference

Police at the crash scene connected the vehicle to the Glass family, and North Catasauqua police went to their home around 7:35 a.m., according to court documents. However, no one answered the door, so the homicides weren't discovered until about 11:33 a.m. when a family friend went to the house, according to court documents.

Investigators have linked the deaths to an incident in South Whitehall Township on Sept. 8 where Bradley allegedly physically abused Rianna Glass and threatened her with a knife. Houck declined to comment on that case, saying authorities prioritized the homicide in these early days of the investigation.

Bradley was arrested Tuesday afternoon at his North Whitehall Township home and arraigned before District Judge Robert Hawke.

He has been charged as an adult on two counts of criminal homicide and one count of theft by unlawful taking for driving off in the Nissan. During the news conference at the Northampton County Courthouse, Houck said Bradley was being transported to the Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center, where he will be held without bail.

The mother and daughter's joint obituary described Rosalyn Glass as a native of the Philippines who worked at iHerb in Palmer Township. Rianna Glass loved to dance.

In a prepared statement Tuesday, Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph Kovalchick said the district will make additional counselors available at all of its schools.

He offered the district's thoughts and prayers to the victims' friends and family as they grapple with their losses.

"Rianna was a good student and a nice person with a great smile. She will be missed by all," Kovalchik said.

Prior to the news conference, information about the case came out in drips and drabs — authorities disclosed the slayings Thursday, provided their ages Friday and identified them on Tuesday.

Houck defended his office's handling of the investigation, saying investigators quickly secured physical and digital evidence in a complex case involving three juveniles in multiple municipalities and brought charges within five days.

"You don’t want to rush to judgment. The minute you start trying these things in the press, you taint the investigation. This is done so you keep the investigation as pristine as possible," Houck said.