Bethlehem Press

Monday, September 16, 2019
Accused murderer Drew Alan Rose needed rent money, police say. Accused murderer Drew Alan Rose needed rent money, police say.
Virginia Houck, 97. Her son Roger had been strangled the previous day. Virginia Houck, 97. Her son Roger had been strangled the previous day.
press photo by nernie o’hareNorthampton County First Deputy DA Terrence Houck and Detective Tim Ruoff announce the charges Friday. press photo by nernie o’hareNorthampton County First Deputy DA Terrence Houck and Detective Tim Ruoff announce the charges Friday.

Murder for rent money Bethlehem man charged in double homicide case

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 by Bernie O’Hare Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

A Bethlehem man has been charged with a double-murder, arson, burglary and related offenses stemming from a January fire at 2901 Stephen St. in Palmer Township.

Drew Alan Rose, 37, was charged Friday with the homicides of 97-year-old Virginia Houck and her son, Roger Houck, 61, of Seattle. The motive for these alleged actions was Rose’s need for his half of $900 in rent at a Broadway apartment he shared with his mother.

According to Palmer police, Rose’s mother had once been a caretaker for Virginia Houck, and he knew she was alone most of the time. Police say Rose entered Houck’s home Jan. 3 and strangled Roger Houck. He returned the next day and carried the bedridden Virgina Houck to the basement and bound her with duct tape, zip ties and webbing. He then brought the remains of Roger Houck to the basement. He poured gasoline over both victims, and lit them both ablaze.

As the home burned, police said, Rose moved Roger Houck’s car to make it appear no one was home. But the charred and unrecognizable remains of both victims were found by firefighters. Medical records were needed for a positive identification.

First Deputy District Attorney Terrence Houck announced the charges on Friday. He is unrelated to the victims.

Rose was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline M. Taschner. He has been denied bail and is currently incarcerated at Northampton County jail.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16.