Arrests made in murder of Metairie father, son

Arrests made in murder of Metairie father, son
David and Nicholas Pence
David and Nicholas Pence

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Arrests have been made in the murder of a father and son in Metairie, but police are still trying to figure out why what they're calling a "senseless act of violence" occurred.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a press conference Sunday, April 26 to announce that 17-year-old Dexter Allen and 18-year-old Haraquon DeGruy were arrested in connection to the murders of David and Nicholas Pence. According the Norman, both were involved in numerous vehicle burglaries in the area as well.

The incident happened around 11:50 p.m. April 22 in the 3700 block of Clifford Drive.

Normand DeGruy admitted they were riding around in the area committing vehicle burglaries  when they saw the Pence's garage open with the lights on and intended to rob the family. Allen allegedly grabbed a shotgun and got out of the car while DeGruy circled the block.

Police say Allen went into the house through an unlocked side door and stole various items from the house including items from Elizabeth Pence's purse that were later used as evidence. Police are still unsure why he allegedly killed David and Nicholas during the robbery.

Police say DeGruy told them during questioning that when Allen came back to the car he told her that he killed someone and they needed to leave.

Officers arriving on the scene found David Pence, 56, shot multiple times in a living room chair. Nicholas Pence, 25, was found lying on the living room floor with multiple gunshot wounds, deputies say. Normand said David Pence may have been asleep when he was killed. Both men died on the scene.

Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich said the men were killed with a shotgun. A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman said the coroner's report show the father and son were "executed, plain and simple."

Elizabeth Pence, David's wife and Nicholas' mother, was in the house at the time of the murders and called 911. Elizabeth Pence told deputies that she heard what sounded like glass breaking and went to investigate. She told authorities that she discovered her husband and son unresponsive in the living room.

Normand said police began with little to no info, but by canvassing the area were able to use neighbor's video surveillance to begin tracking down suspects. Detectives got Degruy and Allen's license plate number from surveillance images and used traffic cameras to track down the vehicle.

Police working the case also investigated nearby vehicle burglaries and found DeGruy's finger prints on a car burglarized one street over, helping them to identify her as a suspect.

Police found the suspect's vehicle on Friday, April 24 and saw Allen and DeGruy enter the vehicle before moving in to arrest them. The two suspects then lead officers on a police chase while throwing evidence out the car window. Police managed to catch DeGruy when the vehicle eventually stopped and Allen after a brief chase on foot.

Normand said detectives recovered the shotgun used during the murder as well as a CVS card taken from Elizabeth Pence's purse. They have recovered the evidence thrown from the car window as well and are in the process of connecting it to other robberies in the area.

Normand thanked officers during his press conference for their hard work and dedication saying that they would stop at nothing to bring peace to the Pence family and the parish. "In some cases (officers went) 30-40 straight hours without going home to their families or getting any sleep so we can bring some sense of calm to this neighborhood and this random murder.”

Dexter Allen is charged with two counts of first degree murder. Haraquon DeGruy is charged with one count of accessory after the fact for First Degree Murder.

Normand said that the investigation is still ongoing and answers as to why this happened are still being sought. "My Heart goes out to the Pence family."

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