A teen girl and her mother have been arrested in the deaths of five of their relatives, including three children, who police said were slain in their Pennsylvania apartment in what the suspects allegedly claimed was intended to be a mass murder-suicide plot.
Shana Decree, 45, and her 19-year-old daughter, Dominique Decree, were discovered Monday by a maintenance man who called emergency services after finding the pair disoriented and lying in bed, and the apartment in disarray, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case.
The man entered the home at the behest of a representative of the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency, who made an unannounced visit to the apartment. The representative said she knew at least eight people, including several children, lived at the home, and when no one answered, she went for help.
Shana and Dominique Decree were rushed to the hospital, while other emergency responders dove deeper into the apartment.
Police who responded to the Morrisville apartment said they found a chaotic scene. Glass and clutter blanketed much of the house’s floor. Furniture was flipped over and turned on its side. The home looked nothing like it did when the representative last visited the family on Feb. 5, she said.
But the chaos took a gruesome turn when they entered the last bedroom, where police said they found five bodies.
The bodies of two adult women and three children were scattered throughout the room; one victim laid on the bed, while the others were strewn across the floor, police said. The two adult victims were later identified as 42-year-old Jamilla Campbell and 25-year-old Naa’Irah Smith. The three children’s names were initially withheld, but authorities later identified them as 13-year-old Damon Decree Jr., and 9-year-old twins Imani and Erika Allen.
Investigators interviewed Shana and Dominique Decree while they were being treated at Jefferson Bucks Hospital. The pair allegedly waived their Miranda rights to counsel and agreed to speak to police without an attorney present, the affidavit said.
Police said Dominique, who had visible injuries to her neck, at first denied knowing what had occurred at the apartment she shared with her mother, Shana, her sister, Smith, her aunt, Campbell, her younger brother and her aunt Campbell’s twin daughters.
Campbell’s son also lived at the home, but he was not there at the time of the killings and was later located by authorities, who said he was safe. He is not considered a suspect.
Dominique allegedly said an unknown man caused the injuries to her neck, but said she didn’t know what happened, the affidavit said. She also asked if her family was alive and repeatedly said she wanted to die, police said.
Several rooms down the hall, Shana also maintained she didn’t know what happened, the affidavit said. She then claimed Campbell’s boyfriend and two unknown men killed everyone at the apartment, except her and Dominique, police said.
After investigators told Dominique that her mother already identified the persons responsible for killing her family, she allegedly named Campbell’s boyfriend as well, authorities said. Dominique also allegedly said two other men assisted Campbell’s boyfriend, the affidavit said.
But Shana’s account of what happened later allegedly changed, according to police. Officials said Shana told them everyone in the apartment, including the children, wanted to die and spoke about suicide.
Shana said she killed one of the children, that Campbell killed another one of the children and then killed Naa’Irah, and that she and Dominique both killed another one of the children before Dominique killed Campbell.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub told reporters Monday. “I just spoke with the family of the five of the deceased and we’re all heartbroken.”
Shana and Dominique Decree were both charged with five counts of criminal homicide and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, authorities said. Shana was arraigned about 4 a.m. Tuesday, while Dominique is expected to be arraigned on the same charges later in the day.
They have not yet entered pleas and attorney information was not immediately available. Neither Campbell's boyfriend, nor any other man, was charged in the killings.