The mother of an autistic son stabbed to death in Pacific two years ago wants justice for her son.
Cory Dreiling, 26, was stabbed multiple times in his Westmoor Place Complex residence. His roommate, Elroy “Mark” Gretzmacher, 35, also was stabbed several times.
Madeline Dreiling, Cory’s mother, went to check on the young men when she did not hear from them for 10 hours. She found both men dead in their apartment on June 22.
The major case squad identified Aaron R. Hodges, a neighbor of the slain men, as a suspect. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action and is in custody in Franklin County Jail.
Dreiling told The Missourian that she has met with Franklin County Prosecutor Bob Parks several times to ask for justice for her son. She said Parks has been in the process of negotiating a plea bargain for Hodges.
Dreiling worries Hodges will get off with a light sentence.
“He murdered these two boys in cold blood and has admitted it,” she said. “I want to see him sentenced to two 30-year sentences to be served consecutively not concurrently. I do not want to see him out on parole.”
Both of the slain men were handicapped, but living on their own in the condominium, which Dreiling and her husband Roy purchased for Cory to help him live an independent life.
After graduating from Lafayette High School, Dreiling worked in a handicapped workshop then landed a job at Six Flags, which he loved.
“What he really wanted to do was be a ride operator and he recently was promoted to that,” Dreiling said. “It was his dream job.”
Gretzmacher also was employed. Dreiling helped him complete a job application and prepare for an interview.
“He had just gotten a job,” she said. “He was so happy.”
Dreiling said neither of the young men were capable of fighting or defending themselves. Both were doing what they wanted to do and were trying to be independent.
“He (Hodges) just overpowered them and stabbed them to death,” Dreiling said.
Both the major case squad and Pacific Police Department noted that Hodges was talking bizarrely when he was apprehended. He was sent for a psych evaluation.
“There is nothing wrong with him,” Dreiling said. “He has admitted doing this.”
Dreiling said her greatest fear is that Hodge will be given a light sentence and be out on parole.
“He killed two people he did not know,” she said. “He came in there with a knife. Cory had no weapon. We want a sentence that goes with killing someone.
“They made him a couple of plea deal offers,” she added. “Bob Parks does not want this case to go to a jury.”
Parks said the case is still pending. The public defender who is defending Hodges has asked for more DNA testing.
“We’re complying with that,” Parks said. “I understand the frustration of the family. This is taking so long.”
Parks said there is a plea bargain on the table, but it is not a light one.
“I can’t talk about the plea bargain while the case is pending but I’ve gone over this with the family,” he said.
Judge Gael Wood is stepping down at the end of the year and Judge Craig Hellmann is taking over.
“We hope to wrap this up right after the first of the year,” Parks said.