6 indicted in connection to 2017 murder
Del. woman was killed in Elkton
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.
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.