Johnstown woman pleads guilty but mentally ill in 2022 Indiana County homicide

INDIANA, Pa. – A Johnstown woman pleaded guilty in Indiana County court Friday for her role in the October 2022 kidnapping and murder of Hayden Robert Garreffa.

Taylyn Nashel Edwards, 20, pleaded guilty but mentally ill before President Judge Thomas M. Bianco to charges of first-degree murder and felony kidnapping.

She faces a sentence of life in prison without parole when she is sentenced June 19. Edwards could be sent to a mental health institution, court-appointed attorney Timothy Burns said.

“She will be treated a little different as a state inmate,” Burns said. Edwards will receive treatment during her incarceration, he said.

“We thought this was the best resolution for Miss Edwards,” Burns said.

Burns said Edwards underwent a mental health evaluation and met the criteria for the guilty but mentally ill plea.

“She was deemed competent, but with significant mental health impairment at the time of the incident,” he said.

Edwards, Summer Isabella Settlemyer, Isaac Joel Buchkoski, Mia Shai Catalfano, Thomas Alan Rivera, Jesse Lee Wadsworth and Harmony Rhyne Hayward, all of Johnstown, and Desean Garcia Alvarez, of Indiana, were all charged in connection with the killing of Garreffa, 19.

Some of them barely knew each other, and barely knew Garreffa, but all were present during his murder in a remote wooded area, state police allege.

State police criminal investigators allege that the group arrived on Oct. 20, 2022, at Garreffa’s grandmother’s home in Buffington Township and led the teen to a waiting Dodge Caravan.

They drove to the woods where multiple defendants allegedly spent a few minutes striking, stomping and kicking Garreffa. He also was stabbed, troopers allege.

Garreffa’s body was found two days later. Indiana County Coroner Jerry Overman ruled he died from multiple stab wounds and blunt-force trauma.

Garreffa, who had severe autism, earlier had a dispute with one of the suspects that led to the murder, investigators said.