Police Say Burglary Was the Motive in Horrific Quadruple Homicide in Upstate New York

James White and Justin Mann (Troy, N.Y., Police Department)
James White and Justin Mann (Troy, N.Y., Police Department)

According to an indictment handed down on Friday, police in Troy, N.Y., have revealed a motive in the quadruple homicide of two women and two children in late December.


According to the Associated Press, a Rensselaer County New York grand jury indicted James White, 38, and Justin Mann, 24, on 13 murder counts, as well as burglary, robbery and possession of stolen property. The men pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Friday and were sent to the county jail without bail.

On Dec. 21 Shanta Myers; her lover, Brandi Mells; and Myers’ children, ages 5 and 11, were killed in their Troy apartment. Their bodies were found the day after Christmas by a building employee who had been asked by family members to check on them.


Although, as reported earlier by The Root, the Troy police chief said that there was a personal connection between one of the men arrested and at least one of the two women, White and Mann reportedly left the scene of the crime with an Xbox video game system and television (perhaps they were going to rob the women but, because they knew them, felt they could leave no witnesses).

AP reports that Mann served time for a 2013 armed robbery in New York City’s borough of Queens, and White served prison time for manslaughter in the 1999 stabbing death of a man in the city’s Bronx borough.


Police still have not released details on how the actual murders took place.

Read more at Time magazine.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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Alexander Crouton-Skitch

My feelings continue to change re: the death penalty.