Houseguest charged with 'cold-blooded' murder of two Holmesburg women

James Mears. Police say he has confessed to the two killings.
James Mears. Police say he has confessed to the two killings.
Posted: August 28, 2014

Philadelphia police have charged a 25-year-old man with killing two Holmesburg women in their home Saturday, Homicide Capt. James Clark said.

James Mears, 25, has been charged with two counts of murder, robbery, and related offenses, he said. He has confessed and is cooperating with police, Clark said.

Clark said Mears was a houseguest of Dollie Evans, 67, and had been staying at her home on the 4700 block of Vista Street for three or four months. Ruby Thomas, 59, also lived in the house.

Evans, a grandmother and a longtime resident of Vista Street, was a well-known, friendly presence on her block, neighbors have said. Thomas, also a grandmother, had been staying with her for several months.

Clark said Mears knew that Evans and Thomas kept cash in the house and "came up with a scheme" to rob them.

On Saturday, Clark said, Mears pulled a gun on Evans and tried to take $500 from her. When she struggled, he shot her, Clark said.

Mears knew Thomas was a potential witness, Clark said, so he went upstairs and tried to strangle her. Then, he shot her as well, Clark said.

"It's a very cold-blooded, heartless act," Clark said.

The homicide unit received a number of tips on the case, Clark said, including some from people who said they had seen Mears leaving the house after the slayings.

Clark said Mears was well-known to police. He pleaded guilty to a firearms charge in 2011 and was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in jail, according to court documents. In 2010, he was arrested on robbery and assault allegations, but the charges were withdrawn.


awhelan@philly.com

215-854-2961

@aubreyjwhelan

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|