National News

2 Men Charged in Quadruple Homicide in Troy; Motive Is a Mystery

Posted December 30, 2017 3:25 p.m. EST

Two suspects have been charged in the quadruple homicide in Troy, New York, a crime the police chief described as the worst he had seen in more than 40 years in law enforcement.

“I don’t have to tell you how good it feels to have these two defendants in custody,” Chief John Tedesco of the Troy Police Department said at a news conference Saturday.

He said the motive was unknown, adding that police were confident there would be no further arrests but that “it’s certainly open as we continue.”

The suspects, James W. White, 38, and Justin C. Mann, 24, both of Schenectady, New York, near Albany, were arrested Friday night. White and Mann were arraigned in Troy City Court on Saturday on murder charges and pleaded not guilty. They were being held at the Rensselaer County jail without bail.

Both men have criminal records, Tedesco said, and Mann was on parole. One of the suspects was acquainted with one of the victims, the chief said, but he declined to give details.

Mann was sent to prison in 2014 on a robbery charge and was released in June, according to parole records. White was convicted of manslaughter, sent to prison in 2001 and released in 2010, public records show.

The arrests came after a family was found dead Tuesday in a basement apartment at 158 Second Ave. in the city’s Lansingburgh neighborhood. A property manager, who had received a call asking him to check on the tenants, entered the apartment and found two women and two children, all unresponsive. They were pronounced dead.

Police identified the victims as Shanta Myers, 36; her children Jeremiah, 11, and Shanise, 5; and her partner, Brandi Mells, 22. Jackie Robinson Sr., pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, told The Times Union that Myers also had an older son who was not home when the killings happened. A GoFundMe page created for the family identified the surviving son as Isaiah, 16.

Tedesco said Saturday that the victims were killed in the late evening on Dec. 21, but would not describe how they were killed. He said this week that he had never seen such a “savage” crime.

Police said they relied on technology to help them determine the day of the killings, and investigators are still combing through video, cellphones and cell tower data.

“There’s a lot of grieving that’s going on, and it will continue to go on, but I think this will be a great opportunity for some closure for these families in the community,” Monica Kurzejeski, deputy mayor of Troy, said at the news conference.