Teenager pleads guilty in kidnapping case

Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 12
August 5, 2014
Junia McDonald, 15, has pleaded guilty for her role in the kidnapping and carjacking of Margaret Smith in March 2013. McDonald is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, Sept. 12 in Delaware Superior Court in Georgetown. SOURCE FILE

A teenager charged in the March 2013 kidnapping and carjacking of a then 89-year-old Lincoln woman has pleaded guilty.

Junia McDonald, now 15, is the second of the four teenagers who has pleaded guilty to carjacking Margaret Smith, now 90, and locking her in the trunk without food or water for two days before dumping her in an isolated cemetery.

McDonald pleaded guilty to first-degree carjacking, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree conspiracy to commit a felony.

By taking a plea, McDonald avoids a trial. Another of the teens, Rondaiges Harper, 19, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of first-degree carjacking, first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree conspiracy. His attorney, John Brady, has said he will appeal the case to Delaware Supreme Court.

Phillip Brewer, 18, earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree kidnapping, four counts of second-degree conspiracy and second-degree carjacking. He agreed to testify against the other three.

Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes will sentence McDonald Friday, Sept. 12.

Of the four teens charged, Jackeline Perez, now 15, still faces trial. Perez is scheduled for final case review Oct. 8.

Brewer was the first to agree to a plea; he testified against the others at reverse amenability hearings on whether the teens would face trial as minors or adults. He also testified against Harper at trial. Brewer is currently awaiting sentencing.

Smith herself also testified at the hearings and at Harper’s trial.

According to Delaware State Police, on March 18, 2013, McDonald and Perez hitched a ride with 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, who spent the night at a Seaford hotel with Smith in the trunk.

Two days after abducting her, the teens dumped Smith in a graveyard, where a passerby found her. Brewer later testified that Perez proposed burning the car with Smith inside.