Cherry is charged with murder in the June 10 death of Kathleen McEwan, 70, a former South Philadelphia waitress who suffered from schizophrenia and the ravages of a series of strokes that left her unable to care for herself.
At the time of McEwan's death, she and Cherry were roommates at the Parker Place apartments in Roxborough under the care of Resources for Human Development, a national nonprofit agency based in Philadelphia.
On June 10, emergency workers were called and found McEwan unconscious in her bed. She was pronounced dead five minutes later and her remains were turned over to a Willow Grove funeral home. There, an undertaker discovered a piece of rope and candy wrappers stuffed down McEwan's throat.
The city Medical Examiner's Office found more junk: Chex Party Mix, a lotion bottle and a piece of diaper. Cherry was arrested June 20 and charged with murder and possession of an instrument of crime.
Cherry's alleged slaying of McEwan is but the latest chapter in a life filled with madness, violence and despair. Cherry, one of 16 siblings originally from Camden, was physically and sexually abused as a child and was sent to live in foster homes at about age 12, according to relatives.
At 18, Cherry was charged with aggravated assault for pushing a woman onto the tracks from the elevated platform at the PATCO high-speed-line station in Voorhees. She was given the maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and diagnosed with antisocial-personality disorder, a condition defined by deception, exploitation and criminal behavior.
While in prison, Cherry was charged with arson and lost her sight, although exactly how is disputed by her siblings.
Contact Mensah M. Dean at 215-568-8278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mensahdean.