Those close to the mother and daughter in Pennsylvania accused of killing five family members, including a set of 9-year-old twins, say the pair had believed the world was ending in the weeks before they allegedly committed the heinous acts.
Family friend Latasha Harris told The New York Post that the Shana and Dominique Decree had displayed increasingly strange behavior in the weeks leading up to the killings. Harris reported that relative Tyquilla Campbell had gone to the house to check on the family but was turned away.
“Tyquilla went there, more concerned for the kids, and they were basically like, ‘Get out of here, you’re a demon. You’re not wanted here, you’re going to die,” Harris told the news organization. “They said something about [how] the world is supposed to be coming to an end in February of 2019.”
Shana Decree, 45, and Dominique Decree, 19, were charged with five counts of criminal homicide and one county of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide after police discovered the bodies of five family members in a bedroom of their Pennsylvania apartment Monday afternoon.
The mother-daughter duo is accused of killing Shana’s children Naa’Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr., 13, along with Shana’s sister Jamilla Campbell, 42, and Campbell's 9-year-old twin daughters Imani and Erika Allen.
An apartment maintenance worker found Shana and Dominique “disoriented” at the home, which had been ransacked, and called police, according to a affidavit of probable cause.
After the pair had been taken to the hospital they allegedly confessed to police that they had killed their relatives, claiming that they had all "wanted to die," the affidavit said.
Authorities and those who knew the pair now believe it had likely been a murder-suicide pact gone bad.
“If we were to give it another couple of hours, there probably would have been another two bodies in there,” Morrisville Borough Police Chief George McClay said, according to The New York Post.
One teen family member escaped the massacre after deciding to move out and stay with friends shortly before the killings. McCabe said 17-year-old Joshua Campbell had been “drinking the Kool-Aid” but eventually got fed up and moved out of the home.
“In no way did he ever think that they would ever hurt the children, or he would have never left,” McClay said of what Joshua would later tell officers. “He said they were just goofy, talking stuff, but nothing like this.”
Harris, whose daughter is the half-sister of the 9-year-old twins killed in the massacre, also believes the suspect’s plan had been a murder-suicide.
“I think the whole family was brainwashed by the mother, Shana,” she said. “I’m thinking [Shana and Dominique] were waiting to die, also. They were all supposed to go, but it just didn’t go according to plan.”
Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub said investigators are still trying to sort out exactly what happened; the cause of death hasn’t been officially determined.
“We will do our best to get justice for those two girls and those three other victims,” Weintraub said in a Tuesday afternoon press conference, according to KYW-TV.
McClay described finding the bodies as a “sad day” for law enforcement.
“As much as I’ve seen over my career, this is the saddest case I’ve ever had,” he told reporters.
Both women have been arraigned and denied bail. Shana is being held at the Bucks County Jail, while her 19-year-old daughter is still receiving medical care and is under police supervision.
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