Northampton County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against two alleged gang members accused of stabbing and burning a teen to death in Bethlehem.
Yzire Jenkins-Rowe, 22, and Miles Harper, 21, were due Thursday in Northampton County Court for their formal arraignments on homicide and related charges. Jenkins-Rowe was at his hearing and was arraigned, while Harper was still in Lehigh County Court and will be arraigned at a later date.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Patricia Fuentes Mulqueen took the opportunity to file notice of aggravating factors against both men, meaning she will seek the death penalty if either of them is convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of 18-year-old Tyrell Holmes.
Mulqueen said Holmes was tortured to death and his murder was committed during the course of felonies: kidnapping, arson and aggravated arson. She is also seeking the death penalty against Jenkins-Rowe because he has a significant prior felony history.
Bethlehem police said Holmes and several of his friends were involved in a “drug rip” robbery involving marijuana. Holmes could be identified as one of the five men who robbed the victim, and gang members became aware of that fact, according to police.
At the time, Holmes was living with Jenkins-Rowe and Alkiohn Dunkins on East Raspberry Street in Bethlehem.
On April 24, 2018, Holmes wasrepeatedly stabbed and then set on firewhile he was still alive near the Parkhurst Apartments in the 1800 block of Barbara Street in Northeast Bethlehem. Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek determined Holmes died from stab wounds, smoke inhalation and severe burns. Prosecutors later revealed members of theMoney Rules Everythinggang were involved.
The night before he was killed, Holmes was worried that his life was in danger andsent a Snapchat messagewith the names of three MRE members, according to court records.
Harper and Jenkins-Rowe, both alleged members of the MRE gang, werecharged last Septemberin Holmes’ killing. Mulqueen said Thursday the killing is still under investigation and investigators are looking at additional suspects.
Jenkins-Rowe, of Bethlehem, is serving a sentence on corrupt organization charges in Pennsylvania’s Phoenix state prison in Montgomery County.