Homicide Captain: Victim Was Killed in Fairmount Park
Police have made three arrests in the June 14th murder of 26-year-old Toy Charda Bryant of Chester, whose body was found handcuffed and stabbed in Fairmount Park, with a gunshot wound to the back of her head. Two of the suspects are boyfriend and girlfriend, and all three were people Bryant called friends.
Two weeks later, homicide Captain James Clark has told Philadelphia magazine that he believes 28-year-old Shintele Smith orchestrated the murder.
“She did all the violence. She beat her, she stabbed her several times, and she ultimately shot her in the head,” said Clark, who described the case as “the most brutal murder that I’ve ever seen in my eight or night years in homicide by a female on a female.”
It is believed that an $800 debt is the reason that Bryant was allegedly tortured at the hands of friends during the final hours of her life. Police believe Keith Bullock drove the vehicle that transported Bryant, Smith and Shavon Armstrong from Chester to Philadelphia. Bryant was allegedly handcuffed and stabbed repeatedly by Smith during the ride over, but was ultimately killed by a gunshot wound in Fairmount Park, near the Mann Performing Arts Center, where her body was found hours later. Defensive wounds on her hands suggest she tried to defend herself.
Police arrested Armstrong, also known as Palliadium Smith, first, on June 17th. Prior reports that Armstrong surrendered to police were apparently false. “Shavon did not turn herself in,” Clark said. “Chester police actually helped us, they grabbed her for us.”
Smith was arrested the following Tuesday, June 21st. Smith’s boyfriend, 32-year-old Bullock, was arrested June 22nd, and is believed to have transported Bryant and her two alleged attackers from Chester to Philadelphia. Despite the original theory that her body was dumped after the murder occurred elsewhere, Clark said Bryant’s life ended where her body was discovered, near the Mann Performing Arts Center.
“It took place where the body was found,” said Clark. “Originally we thought it was dumped but then Shintele actually gave a full confession, and [Bryant] was killed where she was ultimately found.”
While police believe Smith was responsible for Bryant’s fatal wounds, all three suspects have been charged with murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, and related offenses. “She may not have been the one that pulled the trigger but she was definitely an accomplice to the crime,” Clark said of Armstrong.
Clark also expressed his appreciation for the work of Philadelphia detectives and the Chester Police Department for Armstrong’s arrest, saying, “without them, this job would not have come in.”
Preliminary hearings will take place on July 6th for Armstrong and Smith, and July 13th for Bullock.