CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – A Corning man has pleaded guilty to killing a woman in her apartment last summer, according to the Steuben County District Attorney.

Brett Heffner, 29, pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder on March 21, 2023 for strangling Keli Collins with a cord or rope in her Stewart Park Apartment on August 5, 2022. He was originally charged with 1st-degree murder, but the 2nd-degree murder guilty plea carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Collins was found unresponsive in her Stewart Park Apartment on August 5, and life-saving measures from various police and EMS agencies were unsuccessful. Another man who police said lived in the same complex, 29-year-old Brett Heffner, was arrested for allegedly attacking and killing her overnight.

Police said Heffner then stole Collins’ car and drove to Hornell. The City of Hornell Police Department found the vehicle around 2:00 a.m. while local law enforcement—including New York State Police and the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office—searched the area and investigated both in Hornell and Corning.

In September, Heffner was indicted by a grand jury. He also originally faced a 1st-degree Rape Charge.