Two Pennsylvania women accused of killing five family members in a possible murder-suicide pact were mixed up in a religious cult and had been making disturbing comments about demons, according to relatives.
“They were all going through something religiously and they decided to drag the kids into it,” Destiny Harris told Philadelphia TV station ABC6.
Shana Decree, along with her 19-year-old daughter, Dominique, is accused of killing her daughter Naa'Irah Smith, 25; her son Damon Decree Jr., 13; her sister Jamilla Campbell, 42; and Campbell’s 9-year-old twins, Imani and Erika Allen.
Shana Decree’s ex-husband, Damon Decree Sr., said that before the weekend’s violence, the family had been dabbling in some kind of cult and talking about demons.
“I heard they were into something religious, but I don’t know what. I just can’t believe they did this,” he told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “I know the religion was something they found online, but I don't know any details because I live in North Carolina now.”
Walidah Campbell, sister of Jamilla Campbell, told NJ.com that the family was very worried about Shana Decree and others in the Bucks County home but had trouble contacting them.
“They isolated themselves,” she said.
Damon Decree Sr. was worried enough that he called authorities. A child welfare worker conducting a check on Monday couldn’t get inside—and when police were called they found the five bodies, along with two disoriented defendants.
“The apartment was in disarray, with furniture turned over, and with glass and clutter throughout,” an arrest affidavit said.
The mom “told police that everyone at the apartment, including the nine-year-olds and the thirteen-year-old, wanted to die,” the affidavit said. “Shana advised that all, including the children were talking about suicide.”
But police also noted that the two women gave authorities several different accounts of what happened. They have not released an official motive or cause of death.