Feb. 20 (UPI) — Two Pennsylvania women accused of killing five of their family members last year pleaded not guilty to charges in court this week.
Shana Decree, 46, and her daughter, Dominique Decree, 20, each face five counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit to murder.
During a hearing Tuesday, Judge Wallace Bateman Jr. gave prosecutors a month to decide whether to pursue the death penalty as punishment for the mother-daughter pair.
Prosecutor Christopher Rees said he’s unsure if his team will pursue the punishment.
“When you’re dealing with a case that involves this level of seriousness … you have to consider all of the potential outcomes,” he said.
Police arrested the two women in February 2019 after five people were found dead in their apartment. Among the dead were Shana Decree’s 25-year-old daughter Naa’Irah Smith, her 13-year-old son Damon Decree Jr., her 9-year-old twin nieces, Imani Allen and Erika Allen, and the twins’ mother and Shana Decree’s sister, 42-year-old Jamilla Campbell.
A building manager discovered the five bodies in the room of a Morrisville, Pa., apartment after a Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency representative attempted to perform a well-being check.
The Bucks County Coroner’s Office said Jamilla Campbell died of strangulation while the four others died of asphyxiation.
Shana Decree allegedly confessed and told police “everyone at the apartment … wanted to die.” She said Campbell killed Erika and Smith, while the Decrees killed Campbell, Imani and Damon.
Dominique Decree, though, told police she killed Campbell, her mother killed Imani, Damon and Smith, and Campbell killed Erika.
The trial for the two women was tentatively scheduled for June 8.