Two arrests in separate killings in Chester

Posted: February 23, 2012

Just hours after the mayor had lifted a curfew imposed because of a rash of violence in the City of Chester two summers ago, gunfire erupted at one of the region's most-notorious intersections, leaving one man dead.

The investigation would go on for more than 18 months, but on Thursday, Delaware County and city officials announced that they had charged Jamir Williams, 26, of the 3000 block of West Second Street, in the July 2010 early-morning shooting at J&S Seafood, a fast-food place near Ninth and Kerlin Streets that police call a "hot spot."

Officials also announced that Williams was charged with the 2010 murder of Emerson C. Price, 21, of Chester, outside a city bar and that they had made an arrest in the death of a Philadelphia cab-company manager whose body was found in June wrapped in trash bags bound with tape.

"We believe we've taken a dangerous murderer off the streets," said county District Attorney Jack Whelan. He added that the county was working with local police to "aggressively address the violence in the city of Chester."

"These cowards with guns can be taken off the streets," said Police Commissioner Joseph Bail, who attended the news conference along with Whelan and Mayor John Linder. "We just need a cooperating witness who can tell us what's going on."

Whelan described Williams as especially dangerous. "Apparently, Mr. Williams has a very short temper and a callous disregard for human life."

According to an affidavit dated Feb. 6, a witness said that right before the J&S shooting, which occurred about 3:30 a.m. July 24, 2010, she had heard Williams quarreling with the victim, Rahim Hicks, inside the restaurant.

The day before, former Mayor Wendell Butler had taken down the city's 35-day curfew.

The second shooting occurred three months later outside a bar in the 1000 block of Madison Street. Again it involved a quarrel, according to the affidavit.

Details in the case of the slain cab manager were chary, if not cryptic, and Whelan said the investigation was continuing.

Shamar Alexander, 27, of the 1000 block of North 46th Street, Philadelphia, was charged with the murder of John Dillard. His body was found early June 24 wrapped in trash bags in the backseat of a Germantown Taxi cab in the 1000 block of Lamokin Street, in Chester. He had a stab wound to the neck.

The victim's fiancee told investigators that on the afternoon before the killing, she had appeared in Philadelphia Traffic Court for an undisclosed reason, accompanied by the victim. A review of the surveillance tape showed that Alexander also was with them, the affidavit said.

Whelan said the victim, his fiancee, and Alexander had been acquainted, but he declined to elaborate on their relationships.

Investigators used DNA evidence to link Alexander to the tape used to secure the trash bags around Dillard's body.

Alexander and Williams were being held without bail at Delaware County Prison.

Meanwhile, Linder said the city was working with various civic groups to try to curb violence in the city.

As for J&S Seafood - where police have responded to trouble calls 59 times since 2001, according to Bail - it remains closed indefinitely.

A Chester woman was killed this weekend and two others seriously wounded by a man who turned the gun on himself, police said.

As a result of the bloodshed, Bail said, the Health Department has shut the restaurant while a hazardous-materials cleanup continues.

Said Bail, "I doubt it will be open this weekend."


Contact staff writer Anthony R. Wood

at 610-761-8423 or twood@phillynews.com.

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