Phillip Looby was charged on Feb. 4, 2019, for the murder of his mother, Mary Anne Looby. The body of Mary Anne Looby was found at her home, located at 1997 West Point Drive, Lower Saucon, Pennsylvania. (Leidy Mary/B&W Staff)

Homicide occurs near Goodman Campus

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A Bethlehem man was charged with homicide on Feb. 4 following the death of his 70-year-old mother at her home in Lower Saucon at 1997 West Point Drive, near Lehigh’s Goodman Campus.

Phillip Looby, 49, claimed self defense when police responded to the incident and found Looby with blood on him, including his hands.

After his father passed away, Looby had been living with his infirm mother in her Lower Saucon home. He said she approached him with a box-cutter.

Mary Anne Looby was pronounced dead on the scene. Phillip Looby confessed to killing his mother to police officers. He is now in the Northampton County Prison, where he is being held without bail.

“We received a call from an individual who received a call from Philip Looby indicating that he killed his mother,” said Chris Leidy, a detective with the Lower Saucon Police Department. “He made an unsolicited statement to the officer on scene that his mom came at him with an X-Acto knife and he defended himself.”

Leidy said the investigation is still ongoing.

From left, Phillip Looby and Mary Anne Looby. Phillip Looby is being held in the Northampton County Prison without bail. (Courtesy of Lower Saucon Township Police Department)

Looby had previously been charged with harassment and disorderly conduct, and those charges were dismissed last year. 

Lehigh University Police Department Officer Lora Martin, who conducts educational programs on campus and is a self-defense instructor for females, said this specific event wasn’t in the LUPD’s jurisdiction. 

However, she encouraged students to be aware of their surroundings at all times.

“Before you go to bed, check your doors and make sure they’re secure and your lights are off,” Martin said.

When LUPD is made aware of anything dangerous in the area, like a fire or a suspect on the loose, it takes less than a minute for police to send an alert through Hawk Watch, Martin said.

Sarah Stanlick, director of the Center for Community Engagement, said although the homicide was a family incident, it was still scary for the community at large.

“I was really happy about just how communicative our police was,” Stanlick said. “They gave us a heads up on the incident through a Lehigh Alert and said we didn’t need to be concerned about our safety.”

Stanlick lives in Lower Saucon and said that homicides are not at all common.

“It is a very safe town,” Stanlick said.

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