Two Pennsylvania women pleaded guilty but mentally ill Monday to the murders and five of their relatives, including three children.
In 2019, officials found the bodies of two twin girls, one boy, and two adults in a trashed out, cramped apartment in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Authorities arrested and charged 46-year-old Shana Decree and her 20-year-old daughter Dominique Decree, with murder and conspiracy.
The Courier Times reports that police found the suspects inside the apartment, “dazed and disoriented.” The pair then gave conflicting stories on who killed who.
According to court documents, the suspects initially told investigators that everyone in the home, including the children, had been talking about suicide and “wanted to die.”
The victims were identified as:
- Naa’Irah Smith, 25 (Shana Decree’s child)
- Damon Decree Jr., 13 (Shana Decree’s child)
- Jamilla Campbell, 42 (Shana Decree’s sister)
- Imani and Erika Allen (Campbell’s children)
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Shana Decree said that she killed Imani, but her sister, Campbell, killed the other twin and Smith. Shana Decree said Dominique Decree then killed Campbell and Damon Decree, Jr.
Dominque Decree said her mother killed Campbell, Smith, Imani, and Erika. Dominique said she then strangled Campbell after Campbell choked Erika to death.
The twins’ half-sister, Destiny Harris, previously told ABC 6 that the suspects had been going through something “religious” when the killings occurred.
Decree’s ex-husband, Damon Decree, Sr., who’s also Dominique’s father, added that the pair had been into a cult they found online.
“Apparently they had dissected into some type of cult that they materialized online. I don’t know how or what kind of cult,” he said.
Decree, Sr. said that the pair’s cult views had gotten so out of control that he contacted social services. During a welfare check, a Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency worker discovered the victims’ bodies after a maintenance worker opened the door.
Last year, Morrisville Police Chief George McClay squashed rumors about the children being involved in a murder-suicide pact.
“Two 9-year-olds can’t make that decision, and a 13-year old. Is that something in the adults’ minds? I don’t know, but it’s surely not in the 9-year-olds’ minds.”
Shana Decree’s lawyer, Christa Dunleavy, said her client “believed the world was ending and there were demons in her house, and she had to obey them.”
Inside the courtroom Monday, both mother and daughter shed tears and expressed their remorse.
“The hardest thing for me to do is decide who to say I’m sorry to first,” Shana Decree said. “To my family, I am sorry for taking away these beautiful souls in such a horrible manner.”
Common Pleas Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. sentenced mother and daughter to five consecutive life sentences.
“This is horrible and tragic, because I do believe the two of you have expressed remorse,” Bateman told the pair. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t bring them back. You can’t say ‘sorry,’ and expect people to move on with their lives.”
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[Feature Photo: AP/Matt Rourke, File]