Two men are charged with the murder of a 28-year-old Berks County man over apparent drug debt, authorities said.
William W. Smoot Jr., 47, and Joseph G. Lachina, 28, both of Exeter Township, have been charged with first, second, and third-degree murder, robbery, aggravated assault, and related charges, District Attorney John Adams and Central Berks Regional police chief Ray Serafin said at a press conference Thursday morning.
Adams called the Oct. 25 killing of the victim, Anthony DelCollo, a "senseless act of violence."
A passerby discovered DelCollo's body in broad daylight at Rotary Park on List Road in Lower Alsace Township that day, authorities previously said.
His blue 2014 Ford pickup truck was later found on Hancock Boulevard in Reading, authorities said. Surveillance cameras captured the pickup truck driving away from the scene approximately 14 minutes after DelCollo's body was discovered, they said.
While searching the vehicle, investigators found blood on the driver's seat and floor, near and on the gas and brake pedals, Adams said.
An autopsy performed on Oct. 28 determined that the cause of death was multiple sharp force injuries described as stabs and chops, and that the manner of death was homicide, the DA's office said.
Detectives learned from DelCollo's parents that he "had issues with the use of controlled substances," and that he was the primary user of the Ford pickup truck, Adams said.
Investigators later discovered that Lachina's son was maintaining the property where the pickup truck was dumped, authorities said. That information led detectives to Lachina.
With help from an anonymous witness, they also learned that Smoot was DelCollo's alleged drug dealer in Exeter Township.
DelCollo apparently owed Smoot around $300, Adams said.
Smoot drove to List Road in his white Toyota RAV4 and told DelCollo to meet him and Lachina there to buy drugs, according to Adams.
DelCollo opened the rear passenger door, where he was restrained by Lachina, who had been hiding in the back of the SUV, authorities said.
That's when Smoot pulled out a handleless sword from the trunk of the car and stabbed DelCollo in the back twice, Adams said. Smoot then dragged DelCollo from the trunk and onto the ground, with the sword still inside him, he said.
Once the sword was removed, Smoot drove to the area of Little Rock Road and Crystal Rock Road in Muhlenberg Township, where he cleaned his car, authorities said.
Smoot told Lachina to run over DelCollo's head to "make sure that motherf***** is dead," according to Adams.
Smoot later built a fire behind an Exeter Township home, destroying crucial evidence including the floor mats from the RAV4, DelCollo's clothing, shoes, cellphone, and wallet, Adams said.
The pair were arrested and committed to Berks County Jail on Nov. 6 after multiple witness statements were corroborated.
Both had outstanding probation violations which were issued by the Berks County Adult Probation Office, authorities said.
The charges brought against both men were approved on Dec. 1.
The duo will remain incarcerated in Berks County Jail without bail, authorities confirmed.
Born in Reading, DelCollo was a 2012 Exeter High School graduate and enjoyed snowboarding, trucks, and motorcycles, according to his obituary.
The homicide investigation remains active.
Anyone with information pertaining to this Homicide is asked to submit an anonymous tip to Crime Alert Berks County. Tips may be submitted by either calling (877) 373-9913, downloading the ALERTBERKS app on your cell phone, or via text message using your mobile phone and typing ALERTBERKS along with your tip to 847411.
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