Victim: Betty Marie Ilgenfritz Bradford, 26
Age at time of murder: 15
Crime location: York, Pennsylvania
Crime date: February 1, 1975
Partner in crime: Donald Riviera, 18
Crimes: Kidnapping, gang-rape, and murder
Murder method: Suffocating, beating, and burning alive
Weapon: Fire (for burning alive)
Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) later reduced to 50 years to life.
Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution – Rockview
Summary of the crime
Riviera and Batty kidnapped and gang-raped Betty before murdering her. They suffocated and beat her to death and while she was still alive, covered her with a mattress and set her on fire.
Betty was 26 when she was kidnapped by Batty and Riviera. The killers brutally gang raped the young mother and suffocated her and beat her to death. While she was still alive, they covered her with a mattress and set her on fire, burning her alive. Batty later admitted that he lit the first match. Prosecutors have described the crime as “easily one of the most depraved, cruel and heinous crimes in the history of York County” and “a real life horror movie perpetrated in York City with every major felony conceivable being perpetrated.”
Both rapist murderers were sentenced to LWOP. In 2017 Batty was re-sentenced to 50 years to life.
Murder of Betty Marie Ilgenfritz Bradford
On February 1, 1975, in York, Pennsylvania, Betty, 26, tried to go to a grocery store to buy milk for her two-month-old daughter. She never came home. Warner Batty Jr., 15, and Donald Riviera, 18, kidnapped the mother and took her to a vacant home. The kidnappers viciously gang-raped her. They beat and suffocated her and placed her under a mattress. They set the mattress and the young woman on fire, with Batty later acknowledging that he struck the first match. Betty was still alive when she was set on fire and burned alive.