Suspect in killing of 6 relatives also accused of homicide try

0

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) – A man accused of killing six family members was driving to New York to kill a seventh – the grandfather who had raised him – but was thwarted when his sport utility vehicle broke down on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, police said.

Jesse D. “Jay” Wise Jr., 21, was charged with attempted homicide Friday before a preliminary hearing at which a district judge determined there was sufficient evidence for him to be tried on six counts of homicide plus the new charge.

The bodies of Wise’s grandmother, two aunts, an uncle and two cousins – all of them stabbed, bludgeoned and possibly strangled – were recovered last month from the basement of the home they shared with Wise in the village of Leola.

Wise’s girlfriend, Jackie Boots, testified that he told her about the killings two days before police found the bodies, wrapped in blankets, on April 12. Boots said he made the admission as he drove her to a fast-food restaurant.

Boots, 17, said the two were alone in the vehicle when he told her “that he had a vehicle now, he didn’t have anything to worry about, and that me and (their baby) Shaniqua would be together and that he killed them.” She said she then told him to stop talking about it.

The testimony contradicted Boots’ account in interviews with The Associated Press last month in which she said Wise gave her no hint that he may have killed the victims during the days they spent together before the bodies were discovered.

Police believe Wise was traveling to New York to kill his grandfather, Jessie L. Wise, when he and a 16-year-old girl were stranded along the Pennsylvania Turnpike near King of Prussia in the early-morning hours of April 11, according to court records and testimony.

He and the girl were in his grandmother’s Mercedes, but the SUV broke down, police said. A friend later picked them up and drove them back to Lancaster County.

The girl who accompanied Jay Wise on the trip, Angelica Gillogly, said he told her he would be bringing drugs back with him from New York and hinted at another, more sinister objective.

“He said he had to finish what (he) started,” Gillogly testified.

Lancaster County prosecutor Craig Stedman argued there was sufficient grounds to conclude the trip was planned for killing Jessie L. Wise.

“What he has started is the systematic murder of his entire family, and there’s one person left,” Stedman said.

Gillogly said she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol that evening, but Stedman objected, and the judge stopped her short. Gillogly also was prevented from saying if Wise was also on drugs or alcohol.

Jessie L. Wise, reached by phone Friday, declined comment.

The bodies of the victims, ages 5 to 64, were discovered three or four days after they were killed, authorities believe.

Boots, the mother of Wise’s daughter, has said she and Wise watched movies and ate fast food together the weekend of the killings. Wise allegedly used his victims’ cash, checks or credit cards to shop after the killings, and newly purchased clothes were recovered from his bedroom.

East Lampeter Township Police Detective Scott Eelman, among the first to see the bodies, testified that there was evidence in the house someone had tried to clean up blood and had flipped mattresses to conceal bloodstains.

Wise had recently quit a short-lived job at a supermarket near the home on the main street through Leola, a small town in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch farm country.

The victims were the suspect’s grandmother, Emily Wise, 64, who also was Jessie L. Wise’s wife; aunts Wanda Wise, 45, and Agnes A. Wise, 43; cousins Skyler Wise, 19, and Chance Wise, 5; and an uncle, Jessie James Wise, 17.

Police said Jay Wise confessed but investigators have not offered a motive. His family has struggled to understand what might have motivated the killings.

“I’m really hurt,” his cousin, Orisha Jenelle Wise, told The Associated Press recently. She and Jay Wise both grew up in the same household with many of the victims, and she was at the county courthouse Friday to attend the preliminary hearing.

“There’s just one question in everybody’s mind – why he did it,” she said. “Nobody knows. After I find out the answer to that, I’ll probably be more better.”

Advertisement
SHARE