Carjacking Suspects Charged With Rape and Murder

Jonathan Rosa and Cornelius Crawford each face three counts of second-degree murder, plus robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, and carjacking charges.

Jonathan Rosa, left, and Cornelius Crawford.

Jonathan Rosa, left, and Cornelius Crawford.

Police commissioner Charles Ramsey, district attorney Seth Williams, homicide captain James Clark and deputy mayor Everett Gillison held a press conference at police headquarters in Philadelphia this afternoon to announce the latest in the carjacking and resulting auto accident last Friday that killed three children and left their mother in critical condition.

The city has charged Jonathan Rosa, 19,  and Cornelius Crawford, 23, each with three counts of second-degree murder and additional counts of robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, and carjacking. According to the D.A., the city will seek mandatory life sentences.

The incident occurred on Friday morning after the pair allegedly carjacked and sexually assaulted a real estate agent in North Philadelphia and then crashed her SUV into the family of four on the street, where they were reportedly selling fruit on behalf of their church.

The deceased children were previously identified as Thomas Reed, 10; Keiearra Williams, 15; and Terrence Moore, 7. Their mother, 34-year-old Keisha Williams, was critically injured in the crash. (We are withholding the carjacking victim’s name due to the nature of her attack.)

Clark praised the Philadelphia Police Department’s homicide unit, noting “homicide detectives worked diligently around the clock.” He said that a break in the case came when a cell phone was found at the scene of the accident by a civilian. That phone, said Clark, belonged to Jonathan Rosa, “so we knew who we were looking for.” He also added that locals came forward with video of suspects fleeing the scene. According to Clark, Rosa said he was the passenger and that the vehicle’s tire had blown due to high speed. “What they did was indefensible and unforgivable,” said Clark.

According to Clark, Crawford was newly on parole; he had been sentenced for five to 13 years on a 2007 robbery conviction. Clark said that the suspects had only known each other for one week.

According to Williams, former Sixers star Charles Barkley called him at home on Saturday night and has offered to pay for the funeral of the three children killed in the incident.

According to earlier reports, Rosa turned himself into detectives on Sunday night, accompanied by his mother and pastor.

“He turned himself in and he is doing everything in his power to try and atone for what happened last Friday,” Rosa’s attorney told NBC 10. “Quite frankly, he’s having an extremely difficult time getting over the image of that 15-year-old girl coming over the hood of the car.”

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  • phillysportsfan

    I guess i can maybe understand withholding rape victim’s identities, but it so rubs me the wrong way (no pun intended.) it’s essentially saying there should be some degree of shame for being of a victim of heinous crime, when in fact there should be no such shame. and i hate that this policy in a way enforces that as society’s view.

    • Michelle Piacentini Kao

      I don’t think it enforces shame. I just think as a woman I wouldn’t want everyone to know that happened to me threw a news outlet. That’s something you work though privately with family and friends. I wouldn’t want everyone calling me , saying ,”omg I saw that you were rape on channel 10 .”

      • Darlene Smiley Hewitt

        I agree. It is such a difficult thing to get through, and I think privacy is the appropriate thing when it comes to rape or child molestation.

      • phillysportsfan

        as a private person, i can see your point. i wouldn’t want my business in the news, no matter what type of crime i was a victim of. however, since we, as a society, have decided that it’s ok to name the victim of a burglary or an assault or every other type of crime on the books except for rape (or sexual assault) it seems to me to be saying that there is something different about rape. but why? why should it be treated differently. it seems that it goes back to the old-fashioned and wrongheaded notion that a woman’s virginity is sacred and that she would be considered “damaged goods” if anyone were to know she was not, even if was through no fault of her own. i think that this is a bad and dangerous concept to be reinforcing.

        • Michelle Piacentini Kao

          I understand what you’re saying . What’s good for one is good for the other but sex crimes are a totally different monster. If anything ask the woman – if she gives the I’m fine. But then it would have to be the same for men . And I know sex crims on men is very minor but I do not think they would want their name on the news. Then their manhood taking away. With all crimes one feels violated but with sex crimes every time someone makes you tell your story , it’s like you’re being raped all over.

        • Morlando26

          In a perfect society, I’d almost agree with you. You have to agree that there is a stigma that comes with sexual assault, rightfully so or not. The fact that there are people in this world that would sexually assault someone, you have to assume that there are perhaps even worse people that would seek out a victim who had their name publicized to harass or worse. I’m sure I’d feel a lot different about my name getting out there if my wallet was stolen as opposed to being raped.

        • Fishy

          Your attitude is kinda stupid. I think every emphasis should be place on giving the victim PRIVACY. It has nothing to do with your abstract ideals regarding gender issues. I would even go as far to say that ANY victim of any type of crime should be allowed to assert a right for privacy. It should be up to the victim who they want to know what has happened to them. This has nothing to do with the “worth” of this woman’s private parts. You sound confused.

        • Oliver

          You’re spot on. Virginity is not a prize, nor a badge shared by everyone related to a woman.
          I really appreciate it when a rape victim speaks out with confidence to help change this mindset. But, understandably, that’s not comfortable for every victim.

    • camille_h

      Why do you feel you have the right to know this information anyway? If you would like to make a donation to the victim, I’m sure you can send it or take it to the police station or call to find out if there is a memorial fund or fund set up to help the now lone survivor (the mother died). I don’t see how you are on a need to know basis & wonder what knowing her name would contribute to your understanding of this event, exactly. Seems like another invasion of privacy. This was a bodily crime that in no way effected you personally. It is not about some kind of perceived stigma or shame, it is about trying to leave this woman a shred of privacy. If & when she wants to come forth, she will. The magnitude of horror & bodily harm she has experienced leaves her with an enormous amount of pain & suffering ahead.

      • phillysportsfan

        perhaps you should re-read my original comment. nowhere do i make any of the claims of a right to this information you say i do.

        the point i was making and that you seem to have missed is that there are, to use your words, bodily crimes that affected me in no way that the media reports using the victim’s name. there’s one on the front page of philly dot com right now. the media has decided that in the case of bodily crimes of a sexual nature to withhold the victim’s name. i question the motives and the effect of such a policy.

        it has nothing to do with me “needing” or even wanting to know rape victim’s names. it has to do with what drawing such a difference between the reportage of types of bodily crimes says to and about victims and society. one of my questions in fact is why a victim of a vicious beating shouldn’t have the same privacy accorded a rape victim.

        • camille_h

          I’m just shaking my head here. I give up.

  • brooklynRick

    Accompanied by his mother and pastor. Where were they all the times he was getting high, robbing, and raping?

    • The Real Richard Cranium

      The Defense Attorney said he hasn’t thought about a defense yet but in the same breath says this POS wants to “atone”, he didn’t know the car was stolen, he can’t get the image out of his mind, and he was working a Christian Center where “they spread the gospel.”

  • Scott Spencer

    I hope it is life WITHOUT parole.

  • Bob Kennerson

    They aren’t even human. They’re insane neanderthals. Why don’t you fly them both to Texas and turn them loose outside Huntsville Prison, where they’ll be immediately captured and then executed instead of soaking the taxpayers for their lifetime stays in prison in Pennsylvania?

  • Justiceforall

    They killed three innocent children. Life without parole is too easy. Give them the death penalty and don’t waste the money of Hard working citizens. At 19you are doing this? I can imagine what next.
    Oh and all is good if you show up with a pastor and your parent.
    Please get rid of these unproductive slugs that already had a criminal background.
    Death penalty or you might as well set them free!

    • Face

      LOL Life in prison too easy???

      • Goatlegs

        Yes,far too easy. medical, dental, three squares a day and a clean laundry issue once a week with a job in prison industries. Wake up!

        • Face

          You might have a point. I can’t believe more people don’t delibertly get on the inside to get free room, board, benefits and education. Hell you could even get imprisoned for something you didn’t do so you get free money when you get out claiming innocence. Sounds like a plan, when you going in?

        • John

          Have you ever been to jail?

      • CJ

        Are you crazy? Life in prison is a vacation for some ppl.. including these drains on society.. Like Goatlegs says.. the benefits are hard to beat. Wake up.

  • James Warren Jones

    did they really have to put that last part in there, giving us all a horrifying visual to stick with us through out? smh

    • CJ

      Should reinforce why we need these animals dead. ANOTHER Paroled violator.. how pissed would you be if these kids were related to you? Time for some Judges and weak Legislators to get voted out.

    • Oliver

      I would have put it in there. Hopefully, the prosecutor will use that visual in the trial. And it’s good his mother knows what her son did so she thinks twice before having any more kids.

  • passaicpark

    where is rev al and hessie when something like this happens

  • TempleProud22

    Seriously? How does your racist comment add anything to the conversation??

  • Doc

    Nice word. “Atone.” Too little too late. The justice system will now help him atone. No death penalty, so we will all pay while he atones for the next 50 years. Someone suggested 23 hours of solitary in a cell lined with pictures of the deceased lying dead on the ground. Another suggested letting the “general population” at them after informing everyone that they killed 3 children. If death is not an option, they should be made to pray for it.

  • craig

    So does him mom get the reward money

  • Mark Talmont

    Fantastic judgement by the parole authorities.

    • new_york_loner

      The parole officials who signed off on his release should be sacked.

  • phillysportsfan

    I hope the guy who turned himself in gets somewhat of a lesser sentence than the guy who didn’t. otherwise there’s no incentive for anyone in the future to turn themselves in. also, it’s almost certain he dimed out the other guy.

    • new_york_loner

      If the kid had not lost his cell phone, and if it had not been found and turned in to the cops, I doubt if he’d be ‘fessing up right now… they had him nailed, so he goes into his “atonement” mode…total BS.

      So, was “the atoner” sexually assaulting the SUV owner while the other guy drove the vehicle? These guys would have raped and killed her, if that tire had not blown out.

      No, I have no mercy for either one of these savage creeps.

  • Michelle Belle Dovidio

    I don’t believe I heard the word “atone,” during my twelve years in Catholic School, as much as I have these past twenty-four hours. Being a theological term…I’m thinking …the pastor used it several times while chaperoning the horrific criminal, with mom in arm, to the jail for his confession. The attorney arrived and with no clue where to begin for a defense angle it’s a good idea to stick with the religious theme…and in just a few stated words, “atone” went viral.

    I have to wonder if Rosa even knows what the word truly means, but he’ll have his last year as a teenager and the rest of his life in a caged cement closet to figure it out…I, also, wonder if Rosa even knows the difference between “sorry” and “scared.”

    In one breath, it’s sad and monstrous.

  • Jazzkid

    Horrible crime I am for the death penalty but not torture. After conviction they get 6 months to appeal then bullet to the brain after they are affordable the chance to repent. Hi would you like to accept Jesus no? Ok time to meet him POW!

    • Oliver

      Rosa would probably have told you before all this that he accepts Jesus, ergo the pastor’s presence.
      Accepting Jesus does not make you a good nor decent person. I think this story proves that.

  • Tellitlikeitis

    Shame for young kids. But again where’s rev Al now??? Oh that’s right. He won’t support his people now but if a white kid did this. OMG this city would burn down.

  • Cody

    KILL these effing savage animals now. I will pay for the lead.

    • new_york_loner

      I understand your anger, but equating the perps with savages and/or animals is an insult to both savages and animals… savages and animals are not wicked nor evil… you can’t say that about these two killers.

  • new_york_loner

    Execution or life without possibility of parole seems to be in order here… these two hominids are not fully human… put them down, before they can do more damage.

  • guest

    He feels bad about hitting the family and can’t get the image of the 15-year-old coming over the roof of the car but he’s fine with the image of the woman he raped?

  • learned09

    The suspects have this mideastern muslem look. The beard and hair on each one. If that is what they are going for, they surely are a discredit to any muslem.

    • Oliver


      • learned09

        Thank you Oliver for the correction. Smile and have a nice evening.

  • born in 1977

    They fled the scene and almost got away with evading ever being held accountable.
    And not being the driver of the vehicle makes Rosa the person guilty of sexually assaulting the woman who owned the car. Who looks like the bigger jerk here. Oh, well, it’s certainly a toss-up. But had this horrific fatal crash never happened, Rosa would still definitely be guilty of rape.

  • John

    What about this women who got raped? How horrible. You mean they car jacked her and drove around taking turns raping her in the car?