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.”