Chesco DA: 'When We Opened Up That Door... That Was a Doorway to Hell'
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced the arrest of 20-year-old Shakeem Carter, of Norristown, for the Feb. 12 murder of Kevin Allen.
[Editorial note: This story contains graphic descriptions of a murder that may be disturbing to some readers.]
Describing the gruesome scene investigators discovered on entering apartment 127 of the Hanover Garden Apartments in North Coventry, Pa. on the evening Feb. 12, Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said they had opened "a doorway to hell."
Twenty-year-old Shakeem Carter, also of Norristown, has been arrested and charged with the grisly murder that authorities say was in connection with a robbery. Carter had allegedly stolen $350 given to Allen by his father to buy clothes.
Seventeen-year-old Kevin Allen's body was discovered in the blood-soaked apartment after police responded to a 9-1-1 call from a neighbor who heard a "terrible struggle" in the apartment next door. Officers responding to the scene found the apartment engulfed in flames and firefighters were dispatched to deal with the blaze.
Once the fire was out, police entered the apartment and were faced with a horrifying scene, according to Hogan.
"When we opened that door into apartment 127, that was a doorway into hell," said Hogan. "There was blood covering the stairs, there was blood covering the door...and on the walls on either side."
Allen's body was discovered lying face down on the floor between the living room and the kitchen. He had been stabbed more than 20 times and his throat had been cut.
"He had been stabbed in the back far enough through to hit vital organs," said Hogan. "He had been stabbed in the head, and one of those stab wounds actually penetrated his skull. His throat was cut from the midline all the way across."
Defensive wounds were found on Allen's hands, indicating he had attempted to fight off his attacker.
"...He was fighting for his life," said Hogan. "He did not want to go down this way."
Hogan said Allen's body had also been burned.
Police recovered evidence from the scene including several kitchen knives and several empty bottles of cooking oil, all with blood on them. According to Hogan, the oil had been used to burn the body.
The investigation led authorities to Carter, an acquaintance of Allen who had travelled with him on a bus from Norristown to Pottstown on Feb. 12. Allen was reportedly visiting his father's apartment to pick up $350 his father was giving him to buy clothes. Surveillance video reportedly shows Carter with Allen on the bus on the way to Pottstown, but Carter is later seen travelling back alone, without his coat and counting a stack of money.
When authorities questioned Carter, he allegedly told them he had not travelled by bus in over a month and had not seen Allen "in a long time." Hogan said a witness contradicted Carter's story and confirmed Carter had been with Allen on Feb. 12 and the two had travelling by bus to Allen's father's apartment in North Coventry.
Authorities say Carter robbed Allen, murdered him and attempted to burn the body to cover it up.
"What's the value of a young man's life today?" Hogan asked reporters at the Wednesday morning press conference. "$350, sadly is the value of a young man's life today. And that is a tragedy."
According to Hogan, Carter is currently housed in a Chester County correctional facility facing charges of murder, arson, abuse of a corpse, robbery and other related crimes. He is being held without bail.
Chester County Chief Detective James C. Vito thanked the Montgomery County Prison, Adult Probation Office, Detectives and District Attorney's Office; Norristown, West Norriton and Pottstown police departments; SEPTA Transit Police and the North Coventry Fire Co. Station 64, for their support and assistance with the investigation.