Two suspects arrested in connection to the murder of lesbian couple and their children

Two men have been arrested in connection with the quadruple murder in Troy, New York earlier this week.

What happened?

A mother, her female partner, and their two children were brutally murdered in their own home. The family was found on 26 December in their basement, bound and with their throats slashed. Police believe this attack was targeted.

The victims were identified as Brandi Mells, 22, Shanta Myers, 36, and Myers’ children Shanise, 5, and Jeremiah, 11. Mells and Myers were reportedly in a relationship.

Lesbian couple Shanta Myers and Brandi Mells and the two children who were killed in New York.The two children, Shanta Myers, and Brandi Mells. | Photo: WYNT Video

Who are the suspects?

James White, 38, and Justin Mann, 24, both from Schenectady, New York, were arrested on 30 December. Both men plead not guilty to the homicide.

White and Mann were brought in for police questioning on Friday, 29 December and arraigned the following morning. The men were sent to Rensselaer County jail.

Both White and Mann were charged with one count of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder, according to Troy Police Capt. Daniel DeWolf. More information about the defendants is to be released soon.

Troy, NY residents’ response

When police announced on Thursday, 28 December that they were seeking tips about the crime, Troy residents were ‘shaken.’

‘The entire city is really traumatized by what has happened. It’s inconceivable,’ said Pastor Jackie Robinson Sr. of the Oak Grove Baptist Church. Robinson knew Myers as a bus monitor for many years for the Troy school system’s bus service.

The sole survivor of the homicide is Isaiah Smith, the 15-year-old son of Myers. He was not at home during the violent attack.

‘I’m scared to go to the corner store,’ he told reporters.

‘It feels like somebody has ripped us to shreds,’ said Shakera Symes, Myer’s older sister.

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