DRUMS — A McClure woman is a victim of a “serial killer” after a Luzerne County detective said the 43-year-old man beat and stabbed the woman to death before waiting three months to collect her skeleton and dispose of the remains in a dumpster in Columbia County.
Harold David Haulman III, 43, was arrested Friday for the murder of 25-year-old Tianna Phillips, who went missing in 2018. Haulman was charged as he walked in for a hearing in a December homicide case where he is charged with murdering Erica Shultz, 26, of Bloomsburg. In addition to those cases, investigators are also looking into his possible involvement in a 16-year-old homicide case in Michigan.
Haulman, charged by Luzerne County Detective and former state trooper Shawn Williams, waived his preliminary hearing on the December murder charges and was immediately arraigned on the Phillips murder charges Friday before District Judge Daniel O’Donnell.
Haulman, listed on court documents as a transient with no permanent address, also was met by Michigan investigators who say they were in the state because of ties to a 16-year old Michigan cold case where a 21-year-old pregnant woman went missing. Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Dan Zola said Haulman is a person of interest in the Michigan case. Investigators contacted law enforcement in Michigan when Haulman mentioned the woman’s name during the investigation, he said.
Zola, who said the district attorney’s office is discussing the death penalty for Haulman, said a “serial killer is off the streets” after Haulman was arrested on the second count of homicide.
Haulman kept his head down while being led into the courtroom. He did not speak to reporters and walked right by a crowd of Shultz and Phillips family members outside the district judge’s office.
Investigators from Michigan said Haulman has links to Ashley Parlier, a pregnant 21-year-old who went missing from Battle Creek, Michigan in 2005. Zola said Haulman was also convicted in the late 1990s in Germany of murder but was able to get the charge reduced, which ultimately set him free from prison across seas. Michigan Detective Dave Homminga said Friday he plans to release more information about the case next week.
“If these situations don’t match the definition of what a serial killer is, then nothing does,” Zola said.
Phillips was reported missing by her sister Toshia Feaster on June 13, 2018. The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) agency opened a file last year on Phillips who police said was last residing in Berwick when Feaster said she went missing.
Berwick police at the time would not discuss the case with The Daily Item other than confirming an investigation into Phillips’ disappearance was underway in 2018. Feaster, who attended Friday’s arraignment, told The Daily Item in 2018 and the family believed from the day she was reported missing “something bad had already happened.”
On Dec. 6, 2020, relatives reported Erica Shultz missing to the Bloomsburg Police Department. During that investigation, law enforcement learned Shultz was in contact with Haulman when detective Williams interviewed Haulman’s wife, Anne Haulman.
Investigators say Feaster spoke with police after Haulman’s arrest in Shultz’s death in December and informed them Haulman had been in contact with her sister. Feaster said she had text message conversations with Haulman about her sister’s disappearance, which she provided to Williams. In one of the text messages, Feaster asked Haulman if he knew where her sister was and Haulman responded: “I don’t know where she is,” according to the transcript.
Anne Haulman told police that Haulman was involved with Phillips, according to court documents. Anne Haulman told investigators Haulman and Phillips were seeing each other and that he became irate when she confronted him about the situation, police said.
On June 13, Haulman left a residence in Duncannon and told his wife he was going to “scout out a spot,” and didn’t return until June 14, police said. When Haulman returned, Anne Haulman said he told her he had killed Phillips, police said. The woman didn’t believe him and later in the day Haulman returned home and showed her two photos of what appeared to be a dead woman, police said.
In September 2018, Haulman returned to the location of Phillips’s body and collected items, police said. Haulman asked his wife to go with him and she told investigators she went because she was in fear of her life, police said.
Once the couple arrived at a location in Luzerne County, Haulman exited the vehicle, while his wife remained inside, police said. Haulman returned 20 minutes later with a garbage bag that appeared to have contents in them, police said Anne Haulman told investigators. Haulman told his wife he removed Phillips’s skull, clothing and ribcage from the area, police said. Police said Haulman dumped the trash bags in a dumpster behind a movie theatre on Route 11 in Scott Township.
Zola said Phillips’s body or the weapons allegedly used have not been recovered.
Letters, confessionsLast summer, the relationship began to dissolve and the two separated, police said. Haulman later wanted to reconcile with his wife and he sent her a birthday and anniversary card and told her he authored a confession letter about the Phillips homicide to ensure he would never hurt her, police said Anne Haulman told investigators.
The letter, part of the criminal complaint, stated on June 13, 2018, Haulman picked up Phillips and took her for a drive. Haulman wrote that he pulled a knife out and attacked Phillips from behind. Haulman continued in the letter that he returned to the scene months later and retrieved evidence and disposed of it in a dumpster, police said. “I, Harold David Haulman, committed this crime on my own and of my own free will, David Haulman,” the letter ended, according to police.
During a December interview with Williams and other troopers, Haulman began to make references to “the girl from Berwick,” police said. Haulman admitted to killing Phillips and began to provide the location of where her body was located, police said.
Haulman told police he had a relationship with Phillips and his wife found out and that he killed Phillips because his wife wanted him to, police said. Haulman said after he picked up Phillips he thought to himself, “I may as well get this over with and that’s when it hit him, I need help,” Haulman told investigators, according to police.
After the murder Haulman said he changed his clothes and drove to an area of the Susquehanna River, directly across the river from Sunbury, and tossed the hammer and knife, police said.
During a Jan. 4 interview of Haulman, Williams said Haulman asked him if all three cases, Shultz, Phillips, and Parlier would be combined because he was not interested in a trial, police said. That was the first time the name of Parlier was mentioned, police said.
Haulman told investigators he would “take them on a field trip,” and “let’s get this thing over with,” according to a criminal complaint.
‘Numb’Feaster, of McClure, attended the arraignment Friday morning with other family members. She said she was saddened but relieved there was an arrest.
“I can’t thank Detective Shawn Williams and state police enough,” she said. “I also want to thank The Daily Item for allowing me to tell my story in 2018 when no one would listen to me.”
Phillips’s aunt, Julie Martin, of Beaver Springs, said she was “numb.”
“I don’t know how else to describe this,” she said. “We are just so thankful for the support we received from law enforcement from the state police, Shawn Williams, and Dan Zola.”
Former Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said when Bloomsburg Police reached out to her in December, she immediately sent Williams to investigate.
“From a prosecutor’s view, seeing and sitting with victims makes you understand and feel the pain they are in,” Salvantis said. “When we learned of these cases and spoke with families, I knew we needed to do all we could for those families. I am happy that both these families now have some answers. and I am proud of how our office, the Bloomsburg Police Department and state police all worked together on this. That’s how it should be.”
Zola said he feels for the victim’s families.
“We all want the families to know we are here for them,” he said.
Williams said the case is “unique.” “This is something that our area doesn’t see,” he said. “I want to let all the victims’ families know we are here for them and I want to thank the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, the state police, Bloomsburg Police, and the FBI for their assistance in this investigation.”
Haulman is due back in court on May 25 at 11 a.m. in Drums for a preliminary hearing on the Phillips murder charge.