Multiple life sentences have been handed down to a 47-year-old mother and her 21-year-old daughter who, in early 2019, killed five of their relatives — including 9-year-old twin sisters — as part of what the mom characterized as a murder-suicide pact.
PEOPLE confirms Shana Selena Decree and her daughter, Dominique Kiaran Decree, will serve five consecutive life sentences as part of a plea deal negotiated with prosecutors.
On Monday, both women pleaded guilty but mentally ill to five counts of first-degree murder and one count of criminal conspiracy.
Between Feb. 23 and Feb. 25, 2019, the two killed Shana Decree's other two children — Naa'Irah Smith, 25, and Damon Decree Jr., 13 — as well as Shana's 42-year-old sister, Jamilla Campbell, and Campbell's 9-year-old twin daughters, Imani and Erika Allen.
All five bodies were discovered the afternoon of Feb. 25, 2019, piled in a bedroom inside their Morrisville apartment.
″Autopsies determined Erika Allen, Imani Allen, Damon Decree and Naa'Irah Smith were killed by homicidal asphyxia and Jamilla Campbell was killed by homicidal ligature strangulation,″ reads a statement from the Bucks County District Attorney's Office. ″All five deaths were all ruled homicides.″
During the course of the investigation, Decree told investigators that all five victims — including the children — ″wanted to die.″
The two women gave police differing accounts of what happened during the massacre.
Meanwhile, separate mental health professionals deemed Shana and Dominique Decree guilty, but stated they were mentally ill at the time of the murders.
After Monday's hearing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher W. Rees told reporters he had ″never dealt with a case as heartbreaking as this,″ adding ″I have never seen a case with this level of sadness, with this level of loss.″
He continued: ″If you have kids, go hug your kids. If you have parents who are still around, if you have brothers and sisters go give them a hug. If you can't give them a hug, give them a call, send then a text, send them an email."
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According to police, the two women initially denied knowing anything about the killings.
Later, Shana alleged her sister's boyfriend and two unknown males busted into the apartment and killed everyone except her and her daughter.
Early on, relatives indicated the murders may have been part of a ritualistic cult ceremony, but police found no evidence to support those claims.
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