6 in­dicted in con­nec­tion to 2017 mur­der

Del. wo­man was killed in Elk­ton

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

WILM­ING­TON, DEL. — Six men have been in­dicted in con­nec­tion with the June 2017 slay­ing of 28-year-old Key­onna Perkins, who, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors, was kid­napped out­side of her apart­ment near Ne­wark, Del., forced into the trunk of a car and driven to a wooded area in Elk­ton — where she was gunned down.

Perkins’s body was dis­cov­ered at about 2 p.m. June 6, 2017, in the woods off Glen Mary Road, which, in­for­mally called “Smith Lane,” is a util­ity road that can be ac­cessed from the 100 block of Ross Street, a res­i­den­tial road off Delaware Av­enue. Perkins had been shot five times, pros­e­cu­tors said, adding that her body was found within two hours after she had been ab­ducted and mur­dered.

Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment de­tec­tives han­dled the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for the first sev­eral weeks, mak­ing lit­tle progress, be­fore the FBI took over the homi­cide case, one con­nected to two other shoot­ing in­ci­dents that oc­curred in Delaware that same day and are re­lated to the de­fen­dants tar­get­ing a ri­val, Marke­vis Stan­ford, who is de­scribed by fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors as the “in­ti­mate part­ner” of Perkins. The FBI took over the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause, in part, the case in­volved multi-state crimes.

U.S. District At­tor­ney for Delaware David C. Weiss

an­nounced Fri­day that a fed­eral grand jury handed up a four-count in­dict­ment iden­ti­fy­ing the six Delaware men as co-con­spir­a­tors in the “vi­o­lent acts that led to the death” of Perkins and the “grave in­jury” of a 6-year-old boy, an in­no­cent by­stander who was stuck in the head by an er­rant bul­let dur­ing a re­lated shoot­ing that oc­curred in Wilm­ing­ton, Del., on the same day that Perkins was mur­dered.

The in­dict­ment, which list charges of con­spir­acy, stalk­ing and kid­nap­ping, name the de­fen­dants as Ryan “Buck50” Ba­con, Don­tae Sykes, Dion Oliver, Mau­rice Cooper, Michael Pritchett, and Teres Tin­nin —all of whom al­legedly had been tar­get­ing Stan­ford for ap­prox­i­mately one month amid a long­time feud among Ba­con and Stan­ford and their as­so­ciates.

Those de­fen­dants are not charged with mur­der in the killing of Perkins, ac­cord­ing to Kim Reeves, a U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice spokes­woman as­signed to the District of Delaware of­fice, who ex­plained to the Ce­cil Whig on Tues­day, “That’s be­cause there is no fed­eral statute for mur­der.”

How­ever, be­cause the al­leged kid­nap­ping re­sulted in Perkins’ death, each of the de­fen­dants would face a manda­tory life sen­tence if con­victed of the fed­eral kid­nap­ping charge — the same max­i­mum sen­tence that a de­fen­dant would face if con­victed of mur­der in Mary­land, she said. Each de­fen­dant would face a max­i­mum 10-year sen­tence if con­victed of stalk­ing, she added.

All six de­fen­dants re­main in fed­eral cus­tody, ac­cord­ing to Reeves.

The fa­tal shoot­ing of Perkins and two other shoot­ing in­ci­dents that also oc­curred on June 6, 2017, are re­lated to two boun­ties that had been placed on Stan­ford, one after he and an uniden­ti­fied as­so­ciate pur­port­edly robbed Tin­nin and Pritchett of money and jew­elry on May 6, 2017, and an­other that pre­dated that pur­ported rob­bery.

“They (the de­fen­dants) re­ferred to it as ‘a check out on him,’ and that is the lan­guage we used (in the in­dict­ment). That’s street code for a bounty,” said Reeves, who did not know the sums of­fered in those boun­ties

After meet­ing to dis­cuss the boun­ties for the killing of Stan­ford or in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing his where­abouts, the de­fen­dants started stalk­ing him on May 6, 2017, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors, who re­ported that they used on­line apps to share pho­tographs of their tar­get and to of­fer oth­ers money for the lo­ca­tion or death of Stan­ford.

Then on June 6, 2017, all of the de­fen­dants — ex­cept Tin­nin — went to the Four Sea­sons apart­ment com­plex near Ne­wark, Del., where Perkins was liv­ing, and they kid­napped her at gun­point, tak­ing her cell­phone and the keys to her res­i­dence, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors. They searched the apart­ment but did not find Stan­ford, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors re­ported.

The de­fen­dants were able to learn Stan­ford’s lo­ca­tion by pos­ing as Perkins when they texted Stan­ford with Perkins’ cell­phone, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors, who fur­ther al­lege that the de­fen­dants forced Perkins into the trunk of one of the two ve­hi­cles they had at the apart­ment com­plex and then drove to Stan­ford’s nearby lo­ca­tion.

After spot­ting Stan­ford walk­ing on the shoul­der of Route 896 in Glas­gow, Del., a short dis­tance from Perkins’ apart­ment com­plex, the de­fen­dants fired sev­eral er­rant shots at him — while Perkins was in one of the ve­hi­cle trunks — be­fore he was able to flee.

Af­ter­ward, the de­fen­dants moved Perkins to the trunk of an­other ve­hi­cle, which Ba­con and Sykes then al­legedly drove to the wooded area off Delaware Av­enue in Elk­ton, where she was shot five times and killed, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Pritchett, Oliver and Cooper drove away in the other ve­hi­cle, pros­e­cu­tors added.

Later that day, after learn­ing that Stan­ford was at a pa­role & pro­ba­tion of­fice in Wilm­ing­ton, Del., the three­some went there and were able to pin­point his where­abouts to the area of 6th and Spruce streets — where Oliver al­legedly fired sev­eral shots at Stan­ford, miss­ing him, pros­e­cu­tors said. One of those er­rant bul­lets struck the 6-year-old boy, JoShawn Ban­ner, in the head while he was seated in a nearby ve­hi­cle, leav­ing him with per­ma­nent brain dam­age, pros­e­cu­tors added.

Dur­ing Fri­day’s press con­fer­ence, Delaware At­tor­ney Gen­eral Matt Denn com­mented, “He was an in­no­cent by­stander in the wrong place at the wrong time. Be­cause he is such a tough kid, and he has such a de­voted fam­ily, he is do­ing bet­ter now ... but his life will never be the same.”

Also in at­ten­dance dur­ing Fri­day’s press con­fer­ence in Wilm­ing­ton were Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment Ofc. Joshua Lef­few, who served as lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor in the mur­der case be­fore the FBI took it over, and Cpl. Sean Mur­phy, a de­tec­tive who su­per­vises EPD’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Divi­sion, ac­cord­ing to Capt. Joseph Zurolo, an agency spokesman.

Zurolo ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion over the fed­eral in­dict­ment.

“What they are charged with at the fed­eral level is the equiv­a­lent of a mur­der charge un­der state statute,” Zurolo said.

He also ap­plauded the work per­formed by EPD de­tec­tives at the out­set of the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and ac­knowl­edged that it made sense for the FBI take over, given the great scope of the case and some of the unique charges fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors have at their dis­posal.

“They were charged essen­tially as a crim­i­nal or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Zurolo said, re­fer­ring to the six de­fen­dants listed in the fed­eral in­dict­ment. “Al­most all of the crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity took place in Delaware. Un­for­tu­nately, they crossed state lines into Mary­land to kill the vic­tim in Elk­ton.”

Zurolo, who also noted that the FBI has more re­sources than the EPD, con­tin­ued, “The pro­fes­sional and com­pe­tent way in which our de­tec­tives han­dled the mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion early on was piv­otal, be­cause it set the strong foun­da­tion on which the fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors built their case.”

Fri­day’s in­dict­ment against the six de­fen­dants charged in con­nec­tion with Perkins’ slay­ing comes six months after five fed­eral charges were lodged against Ja­clyn McCain, 26, of Wilm­ing­ton, Del., in con­nec­tion with her al­leged role in sup­ply­ing the ve­hi­cle used to trans­port Perkins to Elk­ton on the day of her mur­der.

Surveil­lance video shows a sil­ver Hyundai Sonata linked to McCain in the area where Perkins was gunned down and within the same time­frame that it oc­curred, ac­cord­ing to the five-count in­dict­ment filed against her in April.

Specif­i­cally, the video shows the Sonata headed north near Ross Street in Elk­ton at 12:12 p.m. June 6, 2017, at “ap­prox­i­mately the same time (that) shots are heard near Ross Street,” that in­dict­ment out­lines.

The video then shows that Sonata re­turn­ing south­bound near Ross Street at 12:19 p.m., some seven min­utes later, ac­cord­ing to the fed­eral in­dict­ment, which does not al­lege that McCain was in Elk­ton at the time Perkins was fa­tally shot be­cause, as Reeves pointed out, she was else­where.

Video gleaned from surveil­lance cam­eras is ref­er­enced in McCain’s in­dict­ment, and that footage es­tab­lishes a time­line start­ing shortly be­fore Perkins was kid­napped and end­ing shortly after she was gunned down in Elk­ton.

In­for­ma­tion con­tained in McCain’s in­dict­ment shows the fol­low­ing:

At ap­prox­i­mately 8 a.m. June 6, 2017, surveil­lance video shows McCain ren­dezvous­ing with a man with whom she was hav­ing a “ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship,” iden­ti­fied only as “Per­son 2” in charg­ing pa­pers, in the Shop Rite of Four Sea­sons park­ing lot in Ne­wark and then swap­ping her Sonata for his red Ex­plorer.

It al­legedly shows that per­son driv­ing the Sonata away from that park­ing lot, which is close to the apart­ment where Perkins was liv­ing, and McCain head­ing off in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion in the Ex­plorer.

Perkins drove a red Chevro­let Ca­maro, and surveil­lance video shows that same Sonata closely fol­low­ing Perkins’ Ca­maro on the Four Sea­sons Park­way, head­ing to­ward Perkins’ apart­ment, at 11:03 a.m. June 6, 2017.

Then at 11:40 a.m., that Sonata is seen leav­ing Perkins’ apart­ment, head­ing to­ward Route 896. At 11:50 a.m., “shots are fired from a mov­ing ve­hi­cle at Per­son 1, now iden­ti­fied as Stan­ford, who was walk­ing along Route 896, ap­prox­i­mately 1 mile south of (Perkins’) apart­ment,” ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

Then at 12:12 p.m., surveil­lance video shows that Sonata near Ross Street in Elk­ton dur­ing that time that gun­shots were heard in that area, court records al­lege. Perkins body was dis­cov­ered in the nearby woods at about 2 p.m., less than two hours after gun­shots were heard, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

McCain has not been charged with the Elk­ton mur­der or with the two Delaware shoot­ing in­ci­dents.

She has been charged, how­ever, in con­nec­tion with al­legedly ly­ing to FBI agents about loan­ing the Sonata to her boyfriend on June 6, 2017, within hours be­fore the three shoot­ing in­ci­dents, two of which the Sonata was spot­ted at or near the scene. Perkins’ boyfriend was the in­tended tar­get in two of them; Perkins was gunned down in the other.

McCain is charged with ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and four counts of ly­ing to the FBI when, dur­ing a July 3, 2017, FBI in­ter­view, she de­nied loan­ing the Hyundai Sonata. (Although McCain drove it, the Sonata was reg­is­tered to her mother, court records show.) FBI agents seized that Hyundai Sonata on June 29, 2017, ac­cord­ing to court records.)

“In re­sponse to the ques­tion posed by an FBI Spe­cial Agent, ‘Have you ever let any­one else drive her car?’ McCain in­ten­tion­ally an­swered, ‘No’ and, after fol­low-up, stated, ‘I mean, not that I ... can re­mem­ber any­thing’,” the in­dict­ment al­leges.

If con­victed of ob­struc­tion of jus­tice, McCain would face up to 20 years in fed­eral prison, ac­cord­ing to Reeves.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

An Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cer is on scene June 6, 2017, shortly after the body of a Delaware wo­man was found in the woods near Glen Mary Road. A fed­eral grand jury handed up an in­dict­ment against six men Fri­day in con­nec­tion with the wo­man’s mur­der.

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