A town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is in mourning after five family members were murdered at the Morrisville apartment where they all lived. Mother Shana Decree and her 19-year-old daughter, Dominique Decree, are charged with five counts of homicide in a case that has shocked the nation. Last week, hundreds gathered at a Morrisville United Methodist Church to pay their respects.
“[I’m] speechless, I can’t even describe it. Nobody can describe it, all we can do is be here to help, so that’s what I’m here to do,” said Reverend Ron Dunston with Resurrection Life Church in Bucks County, according to WPVI-TV.
The local community is still trying to piece together exactly why the mother and daughter decided to embark on such a brutal murder spree, which left their own family in tatters. Some have speculated that the pair were part of some sort of religious cult, though the authorities have not confirmed anything of this nature.
The deceased have been confirmed as Decree’s children. Naa’Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr., 13, both of Morrisville, Shana’s sister, Jamilla Campbell, 42, of Trenton, New Jersey, and Campbell’s 9-year-old twin daughters, Imani and Erika Allen.
“They were all going through something religiously and they decided to drag the kids into it,” said Destiny Harris, half-sister of the deceased twins.
Damon Decree, Sr., the ex-husband of Shana, said that the family had been “talking about demons being all around them.”
“Apparently, they had dissected into some type of cult that they materialized online. I don’t know how or what kind of cult,” he added.
“I don’t want them in no insane asylum,” he said. “I want to see them in jail for the rest of their lives.”
Bizarrely, next-door neighbor Nicole Evans believed Decree and her daughter to be strong women of faith.
“We talked about the Lord, we talked about Christianity,” she told WPVI.
“About like 8 or 9 months ago, that’s when I noticed the change,” Evans added, perhaps referring to a newly introduced demonic influence. “It was just like things wasn’t the same.”
Residents are horrified that the mother would choose to take the lives of her own kids.
“The 9-year-old girls, when I saw that picture [of them], I just started crying, ’cause they couldn’t choose to die,” resident Donna Larkin told WPVI.
One of the children’s teachers, Julie Scheiring, spoke fondly of having Damon Decree, Jr., in her class.
“He went to our camp all summer,” she said, according to the outlet. “He was such a nice boy, and the whole family. I’m just surprised, I’m just surprised. I can’t wrap my head around it.”
Prayer service will be held tonight at Morrisville United Methodist Church to honor the five victims, whose bodies were found in this apartment Monday afternoon. Service begins at 7:30pm. Open to all. pic.twitter.com/rwbGNkzVBv
— Katherine Scott (@KScott6abc) February 27, 2019
From @cmenno_intell: After news broke of the killings in #Morrisville, the school district immediately reached out to students — many of whom knew or knew of 13-year-old victim Damon Decree Jr. — and made grief counselors available. https://t.co/DXZURs78k8 pic.twitter.com/aOUMJnx8Q7
— Bucks County Courier Times (@CourierTimes) March 3, 2019
AT vigil tonight for the 5 Morrisville Victims, classmates fondly remember 13 yr old Damon Decree, Jr. And a neighbor describes murder suspect Shana Decree as once a strong, Christian woman. So what Happen? Tonight on Action News. @6abc #LLD pic.twitter.com/aBmVH7EfLN
— Dann Cuellar (@DannCuellar) March 1, 2019
In light of the palpable grief weighing heavy on this town, for now, the traumatized residents are requesting one simple thing: prayer.
“Anyone who is listening, please continue to pray for the town of Morrisville,” Larkin said.
Morrisville United Methodist Church has been swinging open its doors to help anyone affected by the terrible tragedy, holding its own memorial service last week. In particular, the church is trying to help comfort the children who knew those who were murdered.
“It’s difficult to see our kids in so much pain and having to work through things they shouldn’t have to work through at their age,” Pastor Wendy Bellis told ABC News. “Being in solidarity together is what every community needs and certainly what we need during this time.”
“Because the loss is so deep, when we hang together, when we live each other we’ll get through it.” Reverend Wendy Bellis talking to FOX 29 News here on why she is hosting a community prayer service at her Morrisville United Methodist Church tonight at 7:30pm @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/Dtu3Alp276
— Steve Keeley (@KeeleyFox29) February 27, 2019
Could there be any other possible motive?
Aside from the speculation over the mother being involved in some sort of religious cult, there appears to be little clear evidence of motive at the point. However, while the police have yet to state exactly what drove the pair to such a savage act, Morrisville Superintendent Jason Harris did note that Shana Decree had pulled her son Damon out of school two weeks prior to the slayings. Authorities are unsure if this decision was linked to the crime.
Messages decorate Damon Decree’s locker at Morrisville Middle School. The school district is providing help to classmates trying to process what happened to him and four relatives. pic.twitter.com/LtspVrvswB
— Katherine Scott (@KScott6abc) February 27, 2019
“It’s really tough for us at school. It really is. It’s just a reminder everyday.” A long hug for a friend of Damon Decree, Jr. She dropped off balloons. Why his friends were concerned for him? Tonight on @NBCPhiladelphia at 11pm. pic.twitter.com/Mb8phmMIcx
— Aaron Baskerville (@ABaskerville10) February 27, 2019
“Our staff is absolutely devastated that this boy is no longer alive. We’ve had numerous counselors and help from the county to help console our kids and our staff and making sense of what is basically senseless,” Harris told CBS News. “We’re just heartbroken. We’re just absolutely heartbroken.”
Do continue to pray for this broken and hurting town.