Shana Decree, 47, and her 21-year-old daughter Dominique Decree pleaded guilty but mentally ill Monday to five counts of first-degree murder and one count of criminal conspiracy in the deaths of five relatives in Pennsylvania. They were sentenced to five consecutive life sentences in prison each.
In February 2019, officers performing a welfare check at an apartment in Morrisville, Pa., found the bodies of Shana Decree's children Naa'Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr., 13; Shana Decree's sister Jamilla Campbell, 42; and Campbell's 9-year-old twin daughters Imani and Erika Allen. Investigators said four were suffocated and one was strangled.
Prosecutors alleged the victims were killed between Feb. 23 and Feb. 25, 2019.
Autopsies determined Erika Allen, Imani Allen, Damon Decree and Naa'Irah Smith were killed by homicidal asphyxia, and Jamilla Campbell was killed by homicidal ligature strangulation, all ruled homicides, the D.A.'s Office said.
According to Morrisville Borough Police and Bucks County detectives, Shana Decree told them all five victims wanted to die. Shana and Dominique also gave conflicting stories of who killed whom. The D.A.'s Office said multiple mental health professionals said both women were guilty but mentally ill at the time of the murders.
Both said everyone in the apartment “wanted to die” and had been “talking about suicide,” including the children, PennLive.com reports.
“The hardest thing for me to do is decide who to say I'm sorry to first,” Shana Decree said to their relatives and to the judge in court Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “To my family, I am sorry for taking away these beautiful souls in such a horrible manner."
“I'm so sorry for everything that happened, and I truly don't understand why it happened,” Dominique Decree said, according to the Inquirer.