Mother and daughter charged in 'atrocious' killing of five family members in Pennsylvania

Shana Decree (left) and Dominique Decree have been charged.
Shana Decree (left) and Dominique Decree have been charged.PHOTO: AFP

MORRISVILLE, Pennsylvania (WASHINGTON POST) - There was no response in apartment S-7.

A social worker rapped on the door Monday to check on the family. When no one responded, she had a maintenance worker unlock the door. What they saw upon entering the unit at Robert Morris Apartments in Morrisville, a borough in Pennsylvania steps from the Delaware River, was a nightmarish scene - overturned furniture, shattered glass and clutter throughout the home.

Then, two women in bed, disoriented.

Then, five bodies - including three children - in a backroom, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Washington Post.

The two women who were found alive are mother and daughter, and they are accused of killing five family members.

Shana Selena Decree, 45, and Dominique Klaran Decree, 19, have been arrested, each on five counts of criminal homicide and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, authorities said.

The Bucks County District Attorney's Office said in a statement that Shana Decree was arraigned on Tuesday (Feb 26) morning and is being held without bail.

Her daughter was expected to be arraigned later in the day.

It was not immediately clear whether any lawyers were representing them.

"This is a terrible tragedy," Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub told reporters gathered outside the apartment late on Monday night.

"I just spoke with the family of all five of the deceased, and they're all heartbroken."

Court records state that when Shana and Dominique Decree were found "disoriented" in the home, the two were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, according to the court documents, police uncovered a gruesome scene in a backroom in the apartment - one person's body was resting on a bed, with his head toward the end and his right foot through the wall to the next room. One was faceup on the bed, and another was sitting up against it. A child was on the floor. And a fifth person was buried beneath another body.

Authorities have identified the victims as Shana Decree's children Naa'Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr, 13; Shana Decree's sister Jamilla Campbell, 42; and Campbell's nine-year-old twin daughters, Imani and Erika Allen.

During an interview with police, Shana and Dominique Decree denied knowing what had happened, then told police Campbell's boyfriend and two other men had come into the apartment and killed the victims, according to the court documents.

Later, Shana Decree told police the victims, including the three children, wanted to die and had been discussing suicide, according to the court records.

Shana and Dominique Decree then told police about a complicated plan that allegedly involved some of the victims killing each other - at least one being choked to death - and then Shana and Dominique Decree killing the rest, according to the court records.

After a search for Jamilla Campbell's 17-year-old son, Joshua, who police wanted to ensure was safe, authorities said on Tuesday that he had been found alive.

Morrisville police chief George McClay told that the bodies had no obvious signs of trauma and that fire crews did not detect any hazardous materials.

The causes of death remain under investigation, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office said.

Authorities have not released any other details, including a possible motive for the massacre.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.