Three teenagers accused of carjacking and kidnapping an 89-year-old Slaughter Neck woman are scheduled for jury trials beginning Monday, June 23.
Defendants Rondaiges Harper, 19, Jackeline Perez, 16 and Junia McDonald, 15, will be tried separately beginning with Harper in June. McDonald will go to trial Monday, Aug. 11, while Perez is scheduled for trial Monday, Oct. 13.
A fourth teen, Phillip Brewer, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree carjacking, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and four counts of second-degree conspiracy. Brewer has agreed to testify against Harper, Perez and McDonald.
According to Delaware State Police, on March 18, 2013, McDonald and Perez hitched a ride with 89-year-old Margaret Smith before stealing her car keys, robbing her of $500 and locking her in the trunk of her 1991 Buick Le Sabre.
Police said Brewer and Harper later joined the girls, and all four spent the night at a Seaford hotel, with Smith still locked in the trunk. Two days after abducting her, the teens dumped a Smith in a graveyard, where she was found, disoriented, by a passerby. Brewer later testified that Perez proposed burning the car with Smith inside.
Defense attorneys for Harper, Perez and McDonald tried to have them tried as juveniles, but Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes ruled that the severity of the crime warranted trying the teens as adults.
In his ruling, Stokes said Perez and McDonald were capable of terrible depravity, showing a total disregard for Smith’s safety and that they knew what they were doing.
While Harper was not part of the original kidnapping, Stokes said he was aware of Smith being locked in the trunk and did nothing to help.