September 11, 2013: 35 year old Rashann James and 34 year old Montez Bethea were convicted of two counts each of 1st degree murder, robbery, conspiracy, narcotics and weapons offenses for the senseless slaughter of 23 year old Petrenella London and 24 year old Jemark Daniels. They were immediately sentenced by the Honorable Glenn Bronson to two consecutive sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Jemark Daniels rented an apartment in North Philadelphia and was a mid-level marijuana dealer. The defendants knew that Mr. Daniels had recently come into possession of a large quantity of weed (11+ pounds) and phoned him to arrange for a visit under the ruse of making a small purchase. They had actually planned an armed robbery.
They were not aware that visiting Mr. Daniels was his completely innocent girlfriend, Petrenella London; like Mr. Daniels, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and visiting from NYC for the day. Once let inside, they committed the robbery, each with a semi-automatic pistol (9mm and 45mm) and, in the process, executed both victims in what Judge Bronson, at sentencing, termed “a slaughter.” Mr. Daniels was shot ten (10) times. Ms. London, to leave no witness behind, was shot thirteen (13) times.
The fates, however, turned towards justice and accountability. Speeding away in a white Cadillac, a concerned and courageous senior citizen, who heard the shots, phoned 911 with a description of the car, including the license plate. Six blocks away, an elite team of narcotics strike force officers were conducting an unrelated, routine surveillance for illegal drug sales. With the flash information of the car, occupants and crime still echoing on their radios, the defendants, in the Cadillac, pull up onto the block under surveillance. Within a short time frame, the officers, after patiently waiting, watching and observing additional articulable indicia of criminal activity, recovered 11 pounds of the same type of marijuana left behind at the murder scene, the victim’s passports and both murder weapons in possession, both actual and constructive, of both defendants.
The get-a-way driver, Darryl Rigney, sentenced to 19-38 years, cooperated from day one and testified persuasively against both killers. When defendant James, the ringleader, asked co-conspirator Bethea if he “took care of the girl,” Bethea replied with one word: “Guaranteed.”
ADA Richard Sax successfully prosecuted this case. He would like to thank Narcotic Strike Force officers Charlie Kapusniak, Ken Long, Joe McCabe, Joe McCauley, Corporal Merz, Captain Jim Smith, Dave Aponte and Steven Ratka made up the team who’s courage, quick thinking, tremendous work and bravery made this case happen. Detective Micah Spotwood and Bob Hesser put all the pieces together. Together, the team made his job simple.