Shooting deaths possibly drug-related, police claim

Friday, July 25, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio State University student and two other people who were bound and shot to death execution-style in a house near campus may have been victims of a drug-related crime, police said Thursday.

"It appears drugs may be involved," said Amy Morris, a Columbus homicide detective.

Ohio State University student Kayla Hurst, 21, her boyfriend Aaron Grexa, 23, and his roommate Eric Hlass, 22, were found dead Wednesday in the rented house six blocks from campus.

Police had no suspects in the slayings.

The coroner said the young couple died of multiple gunshots to their heads, while Hlass died of a single bullet through his head.

"There's three dead kids. That's all we know," said Grexa's father, George. "What would cause something like this? People just don't come into a house and blow away people for no reason."

He said he could think of only one explanation for the killings.

"This had to be about drugs," he said.

Hlass' father, Bob Hlass of Conway, Ark., said Columbus detectives told him that his son was not targeted.

"They said he was an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Bob Hlass said.

Hurst was taking summer classes toward her teaching degree in English and also was clerking at her father's law firm in downtown Columbus.

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