Three teens pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and carjacking at Sussex County Superior Courthouse in Georgetown.
Police say Junia McDonald, 14, and Jackeline Perez, 15, hitched a ride with 89-year-old Margaret Smith before stealing her car keys and $500, and forcing her into the trunk of her car for two days without food or water.
Smith was found wandering in a cemetery March 20, where police say the girls left her and drove away in her Buick Le Sabre.
Jackeline, wearing a collared T-shirt and khaki pants, was escorted into the courtroom by officers for her arraignment April 29. Her attorney, Vincent Vickers, told Judge E. Scott Bradley Jackeline was pleading not guilty to the charges and requesting a jury trial.
Vickers said Jackeline’s mother was in the courtroom but did not speak English. He said a translator had explained the charges to her family before the arraignment.
Bail for Jackeline was set at $20,000 for each of the six counts against her, including robbery, kidnapping, carjacking and conspiracy. She has been held since March 20.
Phillip L. Brewer and Rondaiges Harper, both 17 – who police say joined Jackeline and Junia after Smith had been forced into the truck – also pleaded not guilty to charges against them.
Rondaiges was separately escorted into the courtroom April 30, also wearing a collared T-shirt and khaki pants. His attorney, John Brady, said Rondaiges probably would not be able to post bail.
Bradley set Rondaiges’ bail at $15,000 on each charge, including two conspiracy charges, kidnapping and carjacking – $60,000 total.
On May 1, Phillip was escorted into the same courtroom wearing a white Department of Corrections jumpsuit. Though all four teens are being tried as adults, Phillip is the only defendant being held at Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, an adult facility.
Judge Richard F. Stokes set Phillip’s bail at $60,000. “I think he is a flight risk. I think he is a potential danger to the community,” Stokes said.
Phillip’s attorney, Andre Beauregard, represented him in a previous case. Phillip was adjudicated for offensive touching in 2010, offensive touching and sexual harassment in 2009 and carrying a concealed deadly weapon in 2007, when he was 11 years old.
Court records show Phillip’s mother, Marioka Brewer, 36, who lived with her son on Coverdale Road, has also been convicted of misdemeanor charges and was sentenced by Stokes several years ago.
Junia was also scheduled for arraignment May 1. Her attorney, Public Defender John Daniello, said Junia’s mother did not appear, despite multiple attempts to contact her. Stokes rescheduled Junia’s arraignment for Monday, May 6.
Deputy Attorney General Melanie Withers is prosecuting the case against all four defendants.
A fifth teen involved in the crime, Deniaya E. Smith, 15, of Bridgeville – who was with the four when police stopped them riding in Smith's car in Bridgeville – was charged with receiving stolen property and second-degree conspiracy. She was initially committed to Stevenson House Detention Center, but officials say she was later released to the custody of a parent.