Pennsylvania mom and daughter who murdered five family members say 'demons told them' victims wanted to die
47-year-old Shana Decree and 21-year-old Dominique Decree entered guilty but mentally ill pleas to five counts of first-degree murder
MORRISVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA: A mother and daughter duo reportedly pleaded guilty to killing five of their close relatives — including three children — after "demons told them" the victims "wanted to die." 47-year-old Shana Decree and 21-year-old Dominique Decree "entered guilty but mentally ill pleas" to five counts of first-degree murder in the killings in Pennsylvania, The Sun reported.
The suspects told the authorities that "demons" had ordered them to kill their family members as everyone living inside the Morrisville apartment "wanted to die." Speaking at their sentencing hearing Bucks County Court on Monday, September 28, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Rees reportedly said the murders took place over the course of three days.
According to WPVI, a children and youth services caseworker found the bodies of Shana's children, Naa'Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr, 13, when she visited the Decree household in February 2019. She also found the bodies of Shana's sister from New Jersey, Jamilla Campbell, 42, and Campbell's nine-year-old twin daughters Erika and Imani Allen, per the outlet. The coroner's office said Campbell had been strangled while the others had been suffocated to death.
When authorities reached the apartment, they found Shana and Dominique "disoriented." Meanwhile, the house furniture had been turned over, the drywall had cracked, and glass was strewn across the floors.
During interrogation, the pair gave conflicting accounts of what happened. However, both maintained that everyone in the house "wanted to die." Both mother and daughter suffered from severe mental illness, as per court-appointed psychologists and psychiatrists who spoke at the Decrees' sentencing hearing. The duo was reportedly diagnosed with a schizoid personality disorder, major depressive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dominique's attorney John Fioravanti Jr told the court that she had been in mental treatment since she was five years old. Her mother Shana had also sought mental treatment. WPVI reported that the mother and daughter were involved in activities of some kind of religious cult, family members claimed. Shana's attorney Christa Dunleavy said her client was "isolated and delusional" when she committed those horrific murders and believed "the world was ending and there were demons in her house, and she had to obey them." "Her family tried to help her," Dunleavy added, "But the delusions were too strong."
Meanwhile, both lawyers said their clients had expressed horror and remorse about what they had done.
As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, President Judge Wallace Bateman told Shana and Dominique that they had caused "unimaginable" harm. "This is horrible and tragic, because I do believe the two of you have expressed remorse," Bateman said. "Unfortunately, that doesn't bring them back. You can't say 'sorry' and expect people to move on with their lives." That said, both women apologized to the court as well as relatives present for their actions.
"The hardest thing for me to do is decide who to say I'm sorry to first," Shana Decree said through tears. "To my family, I am sorry for taking away these beautiful souls in such a horrible manner." Meanwhile, Dominique tearfully said her actions will haunt her for eternity. "I'm so sorry for everything that happened, and I truly don't understand why it happened," she said.