Taray Herring, the Northeast Philadelphia man charged in the macabre slaying of a massage therapist who was beaten to death last year and his body dismembered, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial for murder and related crimes.

Herring, 48, along with Jeanette Pace, 43, a former girlfriend, are accused of killing Peter Gerold, 70, a massage therapist from Northeast Philadelphia whose partial remains were found in the back of a U-Haul truck and in several dumpsters.

Authorities say the couple tased, beat, and choked Herring to death in his home before dismembering his body and frying his hands and feet in an effort to destroy DNA evidence. “No body, no crime,” Herring allegedly told his accomplices. The couple, along with another man, Rafique McNichols, 40, stole items from the home after the slaying, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Herring had worked for Gerold, helping take care of his many pets including parrots, tortoises, bearded dragon lizards, dogs, and koi, authorities said.

Following testimony during Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Christine M. Hope held Herring for trial on counts of murder, burglary, theft, trespassing, conspiracy, abuse of a corpse, receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence.

Pace, of Ventnor, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, conspiracy and possession of an instrument of crime in July, according to court records. She testified that the plan was to rob Gerold, and that Herring gave her a taser to use. After she tased Gerold and Herring tackled him and pushed him to the ground, she said, Gerold pleaded for him to stop, "trying to talk him out of it.”

McNichols, of Philadelphia, is scheduled to have a nonjury trial Thursday for burglary, theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property, according to court records.

John Rowan, Gerold’s next-door neighbor of 21 years, testified that after not seeing him for a few days and noticing a U-Haul parked in front of the house he knocked on Gerold’s door. He said Herring answered the door, said he did not know where Gerold was, then struggled to carry a large black bag from the house and put it in the back of the truck.

That prompted him to call the police, Rowan said.

Gerold’s dismembered torso was discovered by police who stopped a U-Haul truck a short distance from Gerold’s home on the 1000 block of Sanibel Street in Somerton on Feb. 11, 2021, after a neighbor called police about a burglary.

Police Officer Brian Howell testified that after he and his partner pulled the truck over, Herring appeared “very nervous. He was visibly shaking.”

After the officers looked in the back of the truck and saw a large black bag that was leaking blood, Herring told them the bag contained the leg of cow he had shot in the mountains. But after Howell cut open a small part of the bag and saw human remains, he said, Herring changed his story, saying he was paid to get rid of a body.

Authorities believe Gerold, a massage therapist with offices in Mount Airy and Bucks County, was killed sometime in the days before his body was discovered.

Herring, in interviews with homicide detectives, did not admit to killing Gerold, but admitted dismembering his body, according to court documents. He said he went to Gerold’s home on Feb. 8 and found him on the floor, bleeding from his head. He told detectives he stayed in the home with Gerold’s body for at least a day and a half, and then decided to burglarize the home and dismember and dispose of the body.

Herring said he cooked parts of the body in hot oil in attempts to remove the victim’s DNA, and then disposed of the body in various dumpsters, according to court records. He also said he contacted Pace and McNichols to help him steal things from the home, the records said.

Pace testified during the hearing that McNichols broke into Gerold’s safe, which held $3,000, half of which went to Herring and the other half was split between her and McNichols, who were dating at the time.