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Milford Beacon
  • Trial begins for teen suspect in 2013 carjacking, kidnapping

  • The Sussex County Superior Court trial one of the four people charged in the 2013 carjacking and kidnapping of Lincoln resident Margaret E. Smith began this week after Judge Richard Stokes denied requests to return the cases to family court.
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  • The Sussex County Superior Court trial one of the four people charged in the 2013 carjacking and kidnapping of Lincoln resident Margaret E. Smith began this week after Judge Richard Stokes denied requests to return the cases to family court.
    Bridgeville resident Rondaiges Harper, who was 17 when the alleged crimes occurred, rejected a plea deal offered by the state last week and is now facing charges of first-degree carjacking, first-degree kidnapping and two counts of second-degree conspiracy.
    Harper’s defense attorney John Brady said the judge denied the prosecution’s request to have that jury members visit the graveyard near Seaford where Smith was found after Harper and three accomplices allegedly dropped the then-89-year-old woman off after she spent two days locked in the trunk of her own car. Instead, Google Earth images and video  were presented in court on Monday.
    Harper’s trial is expected to last five days. Brady said it has not yet been decided whether Harper will testify in his own defense.
    The other alleged kidnappers charged in the case are Junia McDonald of Milford, Jackeline Perez of Milford and Phillip Brewer of Bridgeville. The trial for McDonald is slated to begin on Aug. 11, followed by Perez’s trial on Oct. 13.
    Brewer, who made a deal in September to testify in court proceedings of the other three suspects, is facing lesser charges of second-degree carjacking, second-degree kidnapping and second-degree conspiracy, with sentencing pending his cooperation in future case proceedings.
    Brady said both Smith and Brewer were scheduled to testify in court on Tuesday.
    According to police, McDonald, then 14, and Perez, then 15, allegedly approached Smith at the Chicken Man Convenience Store in Milford in March 2013, and convinced her to give them a ride to the Lincoln area. Once they arrived, the teens allegedly demanded Smith turn over her keys and struggled with her when she refused to hand them over.
    Once the girls gained possession of the keys, they ordered Smith out of the car and forced her into the trunk, police said.
    The teens then allegedly left the elderly woman in the trunk for two days, without food or water.
    During that time, they  reportedly picked up Brewer, 17, Harper, 17, and a 15-year-old girl who was not charged, before eventually leaving Margaret Smith in a cemetery east of Seaford, where she was discovered suffering from exposure.
    Smith later was treated and released at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, police said.
    The teens were arrested on March 20, 2013, following a traffic stop on Chaplains Chapel Road in Bridgeville.
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