DA plans to seek death penalty against man charged with killing 3 relatives in Levittown

Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn plans to seek capital punishment because of the “multiple killings and grave risk to others.”

Crime scene

FILE - An investigation continues at the scene of a fatal shooting in Levittown, Pa., Saturday, March 16, 2024. A man charged in the fatal shooting of three family members in suburban Philadelphia and related carjacking and weapons counts in New Jersey has been transferred to Pennsylvania, officials said Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Pennsylvania authorities said Wednesday they plan to pursue the death penalty against a man charged with killing his stepmother, sister and the mother of his children before officials say he fled in a stolen vehicle to New Jersey, where he was arrested last month.

Andre Gordon Jr. appeared for court in Pennsylvania for the first time since authorities said he carried out three fatal shootings on March 16 in the Levittown section of Falls Township, as well as a pair of carjackings nearby in suburban Philadelphia.

Arriving at magisterial district court not far from where authorities said the shootings happened, Gordon was wearing an orange jumpsuit and was shackled at the wrists and ankles.

Asked if he had anything to say, Gordon responded in a low voice: “Pray, pray to God.”

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In the roughly 10-minute preliminary arraignment, Judge John Galloway denied bail and ordered Gordon, who appeared without an attorney in court, not to contact his minor children and other relatives who were witnesses to the crimes he is charged with.

Galloway asked Gordon if he understood it was a preliminary arraignment to read the charges, including three counts of first-degree murder, against him.

“Not really,” Gordon said. The judge repeated the explanation and asked if Gordon understood. “Yes, sir,” he said.

Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn told reporters outside the court after the hearing that she decided to notify the court of her plan to seek capital punishment because of the “multiple killings and grave risk to others.”

“We had an opportunity to speak to the family and get their position,” she said. “Time will tell ultimately how this case unfolds. But we had to certify before formal arraignment.”

Earlier Wednesday, Gordon, 26, waived an extradition hearing in New Jersey and was transferred to officials in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, according to prosecutors and the New Jersey court’s spokesperson.

Authorities have said Gordon carjacked a vehicle in Trenton, New Jersey, early on March 16 before driving to Levittown in Falls Township, Pennsylvania.

There, he killed his stepmother and sister, the Bucks County district attorney said. He then drove to a second home in Levittown and killed the mother of his two children, authorities said. He is also accused of injuring his children’s grandmother by bludgeoning her with a rifle.

The dead included Gordon’s 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon; his 13-year-old sister, Kera Gordon; and 25-year-old Taylor Daniel, the mother of his two children, the district attorney said. Authorities have said Gordon’s children were present when he shot their mother.

Gordon then carjacked a second vehicle in Morrisville and returned to Trenton, authorities said. Police surrounded a home for hours in the belief that he was there, but Gordon apparently slipped out before a cordon went up. He was arrested, unarmed, when he was spotted walking down a street a few blocks away.

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The mayhem forced the cancellation of a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County and the closure of a Sesame Street-themed amusement park and a number of other businesses. Authorities issued a shelter-in-place order for several hours.

Officials have not released a possible motive for the attacks.

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has said he would not allow executions to occur while he is governor, saying he wants the legislature to work to abolish it. The state’s most recent execution took place in 1999.

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