Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando Murder Case: Where Is Christopher Bissey Today?

Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando Murders
Murder victims Mary Orlando, 15, (left) and Jennifer Grider, 17, in a photo taken at a novelty shop during a trip to the New Jersey shore in the summer of 1994, one year before they were murdered at the South Mountain lookout on Lehigh University's campus. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO, THE MORNING CALL)

Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando Murders: Where Is Christopher Bissey Now? – Jennifer Grider, 17, and her best friend, Mary Orlando, 15, were shot and killed on June 29, 1995, at the Lookout, a gorgeous and quiet site overlooking the city that has long been a favourite teen hangout. Six months later, Christopher Bissey, then 18 years old, was charged with the murders. A jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree murder on Nov. 14, 1996. He was given two life sentences without the possibility of release.

Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando were shot dead at Lehigh University’s overlook point, popularly known as the Lookout. Residents of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, were forced to watch a horrific double murder. Although officials initially suspected a murder-suicide, evidence eventually pointed to a cold-blooded killer, and the police were on the hunt for him.

Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death: The Lookout,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, examines the heinous murder and the subsequent investigation that brought the murderer to justice. Let’s take a closer look at the case and figure out where the killer is right now.

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Jennifer Grider
Bethlehem Township homicide victim Jennifer Grider appears in this undated portrait. At 17, Jennifer Grider was murdered on June 29, 1995, at the South Mountain lookout on the campus of Lehigh University. Her friend Mary Orlando was also murdered. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO, THE MORNING CALL)

What Happened to Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando?

Teenagers Jennifer and Mary had known one other since childhood and lived close to each other on Bethlehem’s south side. Jennifer was a senior at Bethlehem Catholic High School at the time of the murder, while Mary was a student at Freedom High School, where she had recently completed her tenth grade.

Neighbors and loved ones described the girls as outstanding scholars and kindhearted persons who were frequently seen together and never hesitated to provide a helping hand to those in need. Furthermore, the girls were adored by their families, who still miss them.

Mary Orlando
Mary Orlando in her 10th grade yearbook photo for Freedom High School in Bethlehem Township. She was 14 years old in this photo. Mary and her friend Jennifer Grider, 17, were killed June 29, 1995, at the South Mountain lookout on the Lehigh University campus. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The Lehigh University Lookout was alerted to a probable homicide on June 29, 1995, when four young females noticed a red vehicle and two unconscious bodies. When police arrived at the scene, they discovered Jennifer’s mother’s red Camaro, which she had borrowed for the day. Jennifer lay on the grass a few feet apart from Mary, who was found unresponsive inside the vehicle.

After an initial medical check, they were pronounced dead, and an autopsy revealed that each victim had been shot many times in the back, resulting in death. A large amount of blood was found splattered on a nearby wall, and additional examination revealed that the females had spent some time at the location before being shot in cold blood.

Who Killed Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando
Christopher Michael Bissey, left, charged with the shooting of Mary Orlando and Jennifer Grider at the South Mountain lookout on the Lehigh University campus in June 1995, is escorted to his preliminary hearing in the Northampton County Courthouse. (FILE PHOTO, THE MORNING CALL)

Who Killed Jennifer Grider and Mary Orlando and Why?

Because officials had no leads to follow, the first investigation into the double killings was delayed. Despite canvassing the neighbourhood, looking for witnesses, and sitting through hundreds of interviews, most leads led to dead ends, and the investigators were back to square one.

Even after months of investigation, the police were unable to identify a weapon, suspect, or reason for the murder. A considerable cash reward was also offered for any information leading to an arrest; however, the leads received did not appear to be concrete.

An anonymous tip led the authorities to Christopher Bissey, an eighteen-year-old who lived in the same area as Jennifer and Mary, just one month after the murder. Christopher, on the other hand, denied any involvement in the crime, and officials were obliged to let him free due to a lack of proof.

Despite this, law enforcement officers had their first major break in December 1995, when two youths, James Lewis and Nicholas Stroble, approached investigators and claimed to have information about the murder. The lads admitted that they knew Christopher and were in the car with him on the day he murdered Jennifer and Mary.

The adolescents not only accused Christopher of the crime, but also claimed that they saw him pull the trigger. Investigators lost no time in arresting and prosecuting Christopher Bissey with murder after receiving a damning witness statement.

Where Is Christopher Bissey Now
Christopher Bissey was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the slayings of Mary Orlando, 15, and Jennifer Grider, 17, at Lehigh University’s lookout on South Mountain in June 1995. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO, BETHLEHEM POLICE)

What Has Happened to Christopher Bissey and Where Is He Now?

Christopher Bissey pleaded not guilty in court, but the jury had other ideas. In 1996, they found him guilty of two charges of first-degree murder and sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of release.

The show even indicated that while the death penalty was on the table, one juror refused to vote, resulting in a life sentence. As a result, Christopher is spending his days at the State Correctional Institution – Phoenix in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with no chance of parole.

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