Friday, February 05, 2021

Homicide Charges Filed In Burning Body Found Three Years Ago at Parkhurst Aptmts

Alkiohn Dunkins
On April 24, 2018 at about 2:30 am, Bethlehem police responded to what they thought might be a burning mannequin at the Parkhurst Apartments complex in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, it was actually a human being later identified as Tyrell Michael Holmes, age 18. Coroner Zach Lysek concluded that  Holmes died from a combination of smoke inhalation, thermal injuries and multiple stab wounds. Nearly three years have passed. Yesterday, police charged the mastermind of a three-person conspiracy to kill Holmes. 

District Attorney Terry Houck, flanked by Chief Deputy DA Patricia Fuentes Mulqueen and Bethlehem Police Detective SGT Blake Kuntz, announced homicide and related charges against Alkiohn Dunkins, age 22. Dunkins is already incarcerated at Lehigh County jail, and without bail. 

Dunkins' co-conspirators, Yzire Jenkins Rowe, 22, and Miles Harper, 21, were already charged with the homicide and related offenses in September. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case against them. They have also been charged by Lehigh County prosecutors as members of a corrupt organization called Money Rules Everything (MRE).This gang, which originated in the Marvine and Pembroke housing developments, engaged in a crime spree of shootings and robbery. 

L to R: Patricia Fuentes Mulqueen, Terry Houck
and Det SGT Blake Kuntz
Holmes was alive when set ablaze. An autopsy revealed the presence of smoke in his lungs, according to Det SGT Blake's Affidavit of Probable Cause. It adds that that Holmes "could be heard screaming at a high pitch," and witnesses could see movement while he was engulfed in flames. 

Holmes actually lived on East Raspberry Street with two members of the trio accused of killing him. In the days leading up to his murder, he told family members that he was scared for his life. MRE suspected he was stealing from the gang. Moreover, Holmes had botched a robbery attempt, and this resulted in threats to Dunkins.  

In the hours before his death, Holmes told a friend he believed people were trying to kill him. He texted this message: "Alkiohn Dunkins, Yzire Jenkins-Rowe and Zahmire Welcome. Save those names. If something  happens to me know those 3."

Something happened. 

Witnesses who lived near Dunkins' apartment could hear "brutal pounding" as well as a "loud shriek and a loud crash on the floor" about an hour prior to the murder. 

The identity of the witnesses who assisted police is being kept confidential for their own protection.  

Surveillance cameras in the vicinity of E Raspberry Street reveal that, minutes before the murder, a person resembling Yzire Jenkins-Rowe could be seen entering a Nissan Maxima and parking it on the sidewalk and in front of the apartment building for approximately six minutes. After that, video shows the vehicle travel west along E Raspberry Street to Long Street and then north along Long Street toward E North Street.  This is part of the route from the E Raspberry Street apartment to Parkhurst Apartments. 

The Nissan Maxima returned to the E Raspberry Street apartment minutes after the murder. 

Hours before the murder, Dunkins had told his co-conspirators it was time to address Holmes' transgressions. He directed them to leave their cell phones behind so that police would be unable to track their movements. Dunkins confronted Holmes outside Parkhurst apartments. At this time he was stabbed. Dunkins directed his co-conspirators to douse Holmes with gasoline and set him afire. Co-conspirator Miles Harper did so, using gasoline from a can the trio kept to fuel their dirt bikes.    

In announcing the charges against Dunkins yesterday, DA Terry Houck noted that this was a homicide involving torture. He intends to seek the death penalty. 

If there is any bright spot to this story, it's that MRE is now effectively out of business. 

Dunkins had a promising life in front of him. He was a gifted defensive back at Freedom High School. He went on to Moravian College where, as a Freshman, he played in 10 games and started in seven. His major was business. 

Prosecutors believe he's now out of business. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Money ruins everything. Seek a life sentence. Don't waste taxpayers' money on pursuing an execution that will never, ever, ever, ever - ever - happen. Again, that's never ever.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I oppose the death penalty but am also n a minority.

James Neara said...

I struggle with the death penalty debate. On one hand I'm in favor of it. On the other, I can't fully get behind government being the executioner.