Teen accused of leading friends to rob, kill grandfather
The granddaughter of a 71-year-old Pennsylvania man found dead in his home this week allegedly developed a vicious plot with her boyfriend and pal to murder her grandfather and rob him of the $30,000 he had stashed away in a safe, according to charging documents.
The bloody body of Joseph Monka was discovered Wednesday tucked beneath a large dresser on the second floor of his Ewardsville residence, two days after authorities believe he was killed. He was beaten with a golf club and then stabbed in the neck until he was dead, according to charging documents obtained by The Citizen’s Voice.
Police on Thursday arrested Monka’s 17-year-old granddaughter, Gabriella Elizabeth Long, her 19-year-old boyfriend, Brian Cortez, and 16-year-old Mercedes Lin Hall at a hotel near Wilkes-Barre.
RELATED: Man lost at sea once suspect in grandfather's murder
Authorities are also seeking a fourth suspect, 20-year-old Devin Malik Cunningham, who remained on the loose Saturday afternoon. All four suspects face charges of criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, theft, conspiracy to commit theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle and tampering with evidence.
Police responded to the crime scene after a person entered Monka’s home to check on his welfare, only to find that it had been ransacked.
The victim’s family said Monka kept cash and other valuables inside a safe in his basement, which was emptied out when officers arrived.
Police said the suspects showered before stealing Monka’s car to flee from the scene. From there, they drove to the Wyoming Valley Mall, where they purchased new clothes, according to the criminal complaint.
When questioned by authorities, the suspects said they were all together in Long’s room until both Cortez and Cunningham left for about a half hour. When they returned, they found their friend covered in blood and Monka lying on the ground, the Voice reported.
Cortez confessed to investigators the he stabbed the 71-year-old grandfather several times alongside Cunningham, who also allegedly beat Monka with a golf club.
Long told officers that Cortez previously heard Monka complaining about him and that her boyfriend had discussed killing him in the past, according to the charging documents.
Cortez, Hall and Long were all arraigned on murder charges this week and ordered to be held without bail. They remained behind bars Saturday at the Luzerne County Correctional facility.