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Pair Arrested In Double-Slaying Of Trenton Brothers, Ages 8, 16

Destanie Ellis and Dajuan "Bando" Kelley Photo Credit: Mercer County Prosecutor's Office
Gustavo Perez, left, and his younger brother, Johnny, were shot and killed in Trenton. Photo Credit: Provided

A Mercer County fugitive and a Pennsylvania woman have been arrested in connection with this week's fatal shooting of two young brothers in Trenton, authorities said.

With the help of U.S. Marshals, Dajuan "Bando" Kelley, 26, of Ewing Township was arrested on Friday in Hampton, Georgia, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J.. Onofri.

Kelley's alleged accomplice, Destanie Ellis, 29, of Morrisville, Pennsylvania, was arrested on Thursday in Trenton, the prosecutor said.

Johnny Perez, 8, and Gustavo Perez, 16, were struck and killed on Tuesday night when eight shots were fired into their home on Mulberry Street, according to Onofri.

ALSO SEE: Gov. Phil Murphy's reaction, and GoFundMe set up for Perez boys' funeral costs. 

The shooting followed a verbal dispute on a nearby street between the boys and suspects, Onofri said.

Kelley, who was the triggerman, and Ellis, who followed the boys home in a separate car, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree conspiracy, and several weapons charges, the prosecutor said.

Authorities said they obtained surveillance camera video showing two people and two vehicles near the murder scene. 

Trenton police officers found eight spent shell casings on the opposite side of Breunig Avenue about 50 feet from Mulberry Street, the prosecutor said.

The Perez brothers were standing near a kitchen window on the second-floor when they were struck by gunfire.

The boys' shooting deaths mark the 34th and 35th homicides this year in the state capital, more than double all of 2019 -- when there were 16 homicides, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.

The most homicides in a year in Trenton occurred in 2013 when there were 37, officials said.

“Law enforcement is always working tirelessly to protect the public and solve crimes, but the work accomplished by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force over the last few weeks has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Onofri said. "I could not be more proud and I can only hope that the community continues to recognize their effort, and remain vigilant and involved.”

The prosecutor’s office filed motions to detain both defendants.

Anyone with information is urged to call 609- 989-6406. Tips also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.

For earlier Daily Voice coverage of the slayings, click here. 

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