College Wrestler Charged in Brutal Strangling Death of Teammate; Bloodied T-Shirt and Confession Key Evidence

In a shocking turn of events, a college wrestler has been charged with the brutal strangling death of his teammate at Campbellsville University in Kentucky. Charles “Zeke” Escalera, 21, was apprehended by police 12 hours after 18-year-old Josiah Malachi Kilman was found unresponsive in a dorm room. Escalera, who was wearing a bloodied T-shirt at the time of his arrest, later confessed to authorities that he had “killed a man.”

The discovery of blood on Escalera’s shirt, which matched the one he was seen wearing in surveillance footage from the dorm where the murder took place, served as crucial evidence in the case. During a preliminary hearing, Campbellsville Detective Jeremy Burton revealed that Escalera’s comments about killing a man were made before he requested an attorney. Escalera provided details of the strangulation that led to Kilman’s death.

Prior to the tragic incident, Escalera had exhibited strange behavior in the university’s cafeteria and was briefly hospitalized on February 20. It remains unclear whether he was released against medical advice. Escalera, a champion wrestler who had previously won the 106-pound wrestling state title, appeared via Zoom at the hearing but did not speak. His attorney, Travis Brewley, did not seek a reduction in his client’s $2 million bail.

Both Escalera and Kilman were members of the wrestling team at Campbellsville University and resided in the same dorm building. Detective Burton stated that there was no known acrimonious relationship between the two. Escalera was described as a secluded individual who did not socialize with the wrestling team or spend time in any dorm rooms.

Josiah Malachi Kilman, a theology student and talented athlete who participated in both soccer and wrestling, was remembered by loved ones for his infectious smile and strong Christian faith. A GoFundMe campaign initiated by Kilman’s family to cover burial expenses has already raised over $74,000. The autopsy confirmed that Kilman had been strangled, but authorities have yet to disclose a motive for the killing.

In addition to the murder charge, Escalera also faces a second-degree burglary charge for breaking into a barn on a nearby farm while attempting to evade capture. The scheduling of his next court appearance in Circuit Court will depend on whether a grand jury decides to indict him on murder charges.

Author: CrimeDoor

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