Mother and daughter charged in ‘atrocious’ killing of five family members
MORRISVILLE — No one answered when a social worker knocked on the door.
Not Shana Decree or her three children. Not her sister or her three children.
All was quiet inside unit S-7 at Robert Morris Apartments — because most of the people who lived there were dead.
It’s not clear why the case worker was checking on the apartment in Morrisville, Bucks County, near the Delaware River. But when there was no response Monday afternoon, she asked a maintenance worker to unlock the door, according to court documents.
— Brandon Hudson (@BHudTV) February 26, 2019
The scene inside was straight from nightmares: Overturned furniture, shattered glass and clutter throughout the home. Two disoriented women. And five bodies, including three children, in a backroom.
The details come from an affidavit for probable cause, which accuses Shana Selena Decree, 45, and her daughter, Dominique Klaran Decree, 19 — the two who were found alive — of killing the other five.
The two women are each facing five counts of criminal homicide and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide.
It was not immediately clear whether who is representing them.
Authorities identified the victims as Shana Decree’s children Naa’Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr., 13; Shana Decree’s sister, Jamilla Campbell, 42; and Campbell’s 9-year-old twin daughters, Imani and Erika Allen. Another relative, Campbell’s 17-year-old son, Joshua, has been found unharmed, police said.
Authorities said that there are no other suspects in the case.
“I am sure that you’re going to ask me why this has occurred and what the motivation is, and as confusing as it was night, we are no closer to understanding that in the harsh light of day,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said Tuesday during a news conference. “We will continue to pursue every lead and to work this case to its just conclusion. I expect that will be a long and laborious process, but we will always keep Naa’Irah, Damon, Jamilla, Erika and Imani first and foremost in our minds and our hearts as we work to get justice for them.”
An emotional Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub revealed the names of five victims, including 3 children, found dead during a welfare check at an apartment in Morrisville Monday night. What we know about the crime and 2 women suspects right now. https://t.co/rPIPg07kGl pic.twitter.com/YzZtChfxAm
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) February 26, 2019
Weintraub told reporters Tuesday that authorities are investigating the brutal massacre to determine how exactly the family members died, when it happened and why they may have been killed.
When asked whether it may have been a murder-suicide pact, the district attorney said it was a “potentiality.”
Police responded to the home about 4 p.m. Monday and found Shana and Dominique Decree “disoriented” in bed. The two were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, according to court records.
Meanwhile, according to the court records, police uncovered a gruesome scene in a backroom in the apartment — one person’s body was face-up on a bed, with his head toward the end and his right foot through the wall to the next room.
Another was on the bed, and one was sitting up against it. One of the children was on the floor. And one person was buried beneath another body.
During an interview with police, Shana and Dominique Decree denied knowing what had happened, then told police Campbell’s boyfriend and two other men had come into the apartment and killed the victims, according to the court records.
Later, Shana Decree told police the victims, including the three children, wanted to die and had been discussing suicide, according to the court records.
Ultimately, police said, Shana and Dominique Decree told investigators about a complicated plan that allegedly involved some of the victims killing each other — at least one of them being choked to death — and then Shana and Dominique Decree killing the rest of them, according to the court documents.
Authorities said the 17-year-old boy, who has since been found safe, was not at home during the killings.
Breaking Update: Just located in New Jersey, the 17 yr old son of Jamilla Campbell, one of the 5 found dead in Morrisville apartment. Authorities had to tell him his 42 year mother& 9 year old twin sisters were murder by his aunt&his cousin @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/wXdvzMY49X
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) February 26, 2019
Shana Decree was arraigned in the early hours of Tuesday morning and her daughter, Dominique, was arraigned in the afternoon. Both women are being held without bail, according to booking records.
“I just feel very confident that we have the two killers locked up that committed these atrocious, atrocious murders,” Weintraub, the district attorney, said.