A Philadelphia man is accused of purchasing a shotgun and executing four of his family members, including his parents and two half-brothers.
Maurice Louis was arrested on Oct. 30 in connection with the murders of Janet Woodson, 51, Leslie Holmes, 56, Sy-eed Woodson, 18, and Leslie Woodson, 7, who were found dead suffering from shotgun-related injuries, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
After police performed a wellness check on the family’s West Philadelphia home on Oct. 30, they found Louis naked with a bottle of vodka, according to the outlet.
He told authorities, who had burst through the second-floor window of the home, that they would find “bodies” inside, police sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 29-year-old was subsequently charged with four counts of murder.
Louis, whose mental condition reportedly had deteriorated in recent years, had spent time in a psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, his father told the Inquirer. For some time leading up to his family’s quadruple murder, he had refused to take his medication.
In 2015, he had graduated from Maryland’s Towson University with a degree in Japanese studies. But when he came back, he “just wasn’t the same,” Kia Morgan Smith, Janet Woodson’s sister, told the newspaper.
In Pennsylvania, individuals who have been committed to a mental hospital, are prohibited by law from purchasing firearms, according to Giffords Law Center. No such court ruling existed for Louis, the Inquirer reports.
Janet and Leslie Woodson, who had recently been married, both worked at a Northeast Philadelphia seniors care home, according to Fox 29.
“When we lose people, especially people like this and under these circumstances, it hits home,” Anthony Manzo, chief executive of Protestant Home, told the Inquirer.
Prior to the family’s murder, Louis’ mother, Janet, had purchased a property with plans to open it as a hair salon, family said.
According to her 46-year-old sister, the Woodsons had long-struggled with Louis’ alleged psychological issues.
“Everything was aligning, except that one thing,” Smith explained. “The difficulty with her son.”
The 29-year-old, Janet’s first-born son, had moved back into the couple’s Cedar Park home roughly two years earlier following a broken marriage and addiction issues.
“His life started to spiral out of control, to the extent where things started happening,” Valerie Pini, another family relative, described.
Pini said Louis was known to act erratically and often did “out-of-the-ordinary things.” She said he had also recently lost his job and been evicted.
The suspected killer’s 18-year-old half-brother, Sy-eed, who attended Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, was described by school officials as “beloved,” as well as an “accomplished and respected student.”
The teen was reportedly interested in classical history and competed on the school’s bowling team. The school said the honors-student had planned study ophthalmology or optometry following graduation.
“He was a pleasure to teach and was adored by his peers,” the school said in a statement. “We mourn both the loss of Sy-eed's life as well as the loss of his ability to carry forward his full potential. His Boys' Latin family will carry him in our hearts. We send our deepest condolence to Sy-eed's family and friends.”
Louis is being held without bail. His next court date is scheduled for Nov. 20, according to online court records.
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