Two men have been arrested and charged for the gruesome murder of a woman, her lesbian partner, and two of her children in Troy, New York.
James W. White, 38, and Justin C. Mann, 24, from Schenectady, New York were charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder during their arraignment in Troy City court Saturday morning. Both men pleaded not guilty.
Police say Brandi Mells, 22, her lesbian partner Shanta Myers, 36, and Myers’ children Jeremiah, 11, and Shanise, 5, were killed inside Mells’ tiny basement apartment around 9 p.m. on Dec. 21. The bodies weren’t found until 5 days later. The victims’ throats were slashed and their hands were bound behind their backs
Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said at a press conference that one of the defendants knew the victims. He declined to give a possible motive for the murders.
Tedesco said: “I don’t need to speak about the horrific events that took place in that apartment, especially dealing with children. I don’t have to tell you what a good feeling it is to have these two in custody. It’s a great relief.”
The police chief said both men were arrested at Mann’s apartment on Friday. Mann appeared emotional during his arraignment, according to the Daily Gazette.
State police Major Robert Patnaude said surveillance cameras, both public and private, helped lead detectives to the suspects.
Patnaude told reporters: “We’re confident that we have the right people here. We’re confident that we’re going to be able to put a great case together. It’s going to get better as the days and months go on, as the forensic evidence develops.”
White and Mann face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted on all charges.