WESTAMPTON — A 44-year-old township man has admitted to beating his elderly neighbors last summer after breaking into their home, causing the death of a 79-year-old man.

Under a plea deal, Rhys Lershe pleaded guilty on Wednesday to aggravated manslaughter and two counts of robbery, all first-degree charges, Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia Bradshaw announced.

After midnight on Aug. 4, 2021 the elderly couple living next door to Lershe called police and reported the attack.

Lershe had entered through a second-story bedroom window and demanded the keys to their 2014 black Kia Optima before attacking the couple and fleeing in their car.

Edward Bush died weeks after being attacked in his home in 2021 (whiteluttrell.com) Westhampton neighbor attack
Edward Bush died weeks after being attacked in his home in 2021 (whiteluttrell.com)

The victims were taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

Lershe was tracked to a Cumberland County home the following day. He still had the stolen Kia when he was arrested by Millville police.

In September, about six weeks after being attacked, Edward Bush died of blunt force injuries. Initial charges against Lershe were upgraded.

He faces a 30-year prison term when sentenced on Sept. 15.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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