An Army veteran from northeastern Pennsylvania was murdered earlier this month allegedly by a man with whom he was sexually involved.
Police arrested Shawn Freemore, 19, on Feb. 11 and charged him with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in connection with the Feb. 4 stabbing death of Michael Goucher, 21.
Police said Freemore, of Price Township in Monroe County, confessed to the murder during questioning. He is currently in police custody and had a preliminary hearing scheduled for yesterday.
According to the defendant’s confession, he and Goucher, of East Stroudsburg, met online in late January and, shortly afterward, met in person for a sexual encounter that took place in Goucher’s car.
Police said the pair again arranged to meet up at about 12:30 a.m. Feb. 4. This time, when Goucher attempted to have sex with Freemore, the defendant refused and left the car, Freemore told police.
According to court documents, Freemore said he got out of the car and, when Goucher followed him, he turned and stabbed him in the neck. Freemore said Goucher fell to the ground and when he tried to get back up, Freemore stabbed him a second time in the abdomen before dragging him further into the woods and stabbing him several more times.
Freemore told police that he went through Goucher’s pockets and took his car keys before covering up the body with snow.
Freemore related he then abandoned Goucher’s car about 2 miles up the road and walked back to his house.
Goucher’s wallet and cell phone are still missing.
Goucher’s uncle reported him missing to the Stroud Area Regional Police on Feb. 6.
A passerby contacted police Feb. 8 to report that a 2000 Buick Century had been parked in a ditch off of Snow Hill Road since the night of Feb. 3, which police identified as belonging to Goucher Feb. 10.
The following day, investigators found Goucher’s body about 50 yards into the nearby woods. Both a knife and meat cleaver were found near his body.
Court records indicate that since 2004, Freemore has been arrested for retail theft, burglary, disorderly conduct and drug charges.
Freemore’s parents told the Pocono Record that their son moved out about six months ago and had been staying with various friends. He was unemployed at the time of his arrest but had previously worked at an area Burger King.
Freemore identifies himself as bisexual but “leaning toward guys” on his MySpace page.
During his arraignment, Freemore answered in the affirmative when a judge asked if he was addicted to drugs or alcohol.
William Searfoss, Goucher’s uncle, with whom he’d lived during high school, told the Pocono Record, “You don’t stop loving your child because of their sexual preference. You try to get them to be careful and not let them get themselves into vulnerable situations with whoever they meet.”
The victim’s mother, Mary Ann Goucher, told the Pocono Record that her son was a “trusting soul” and that she believed Freemore planned from the start to rob him.
Goucher, a 2006 graduate of East Stroudsburg High School and a church organist and singer, enrolled in the Army shortly after graduation. He spent about two years as a convoy driver and mechanic stationed in Alaska.
When he was home on leave, Goucher volunteered with the local Crime Watch. After he returned from the Army, Goucher took a job as a janitor at his former high school and was training as a Crime Watch captain. His family said he was looking to enroll in the police academy.
On Goucher’s MySpace page, he was open about being gay and had last updated his mood as “lonely.”
A memorial service was held Feb. 14. The family is asking for donations to the East Stroudsburg Neighborhood Crime Watch, P.O. Box 1037, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.