00:46 - Source: KYW
District attorney: Family is 'heartbroken' over tragedy
CNN  — 

A Pennsylvania woman and her daughter who have been charged with killing five members of their family last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday, a prosecutor said.

Shana S. Decree, 46, and her daughter, Dominique K. Decree, 20, are accused in Bucks County of killing their relatives, including three children, at their apartment in Morrisville, north of Philadelphia, in February 2019.

The mother had told police everyone there “wanted to die,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed last year.

The victims were Shana Decree’s other two children, Naa’lrah Smith, 25, and Damon, 13; her sister, Jamilla Campbell, 42, and Campbell’s 9-year-old twin daughters, Imani and Erika Allen, authorities said.

All seven lived together in the same apartment, officials said.

A social worker was conducting a surprise visit when the family was found, according to the affidavit. No one answered the door, so the social worker asked the building’s maintenance crew to check the apartment.

“The judge entered pleas of not guilty for each to five counts of criminal homicide on a theory of murder in the first degree and one count of conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree,” said Christopher W. Rees, deputy district attorney for Bucks County.

Prosecutors have until March 20 to file motions detailing why the two women should face the death penalty if convicted of the killings, Rees said in a statement to CNN.

The trial is scheduled to begin June 8.

Dominique Decree’s attorney, John Fioravanti Jr., told CNN he could not comment on any mental health aspect involving his client but he did not rule out a change of plea in the case.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Madeline Holcombe and Nicole Chavez contributed this this report.