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1/17/2014
Wilmington man charged in brutal Brandywine Hundred home invasion - News Journal

Recovery of stolen vehicle in New Jersey led to suspect

Jan. 17, 2014 11:40 AM
Written by Cris Barrish, The News Journal


A 19-year-old Wilmington man has been charged in the vicious beating of a 61-year-old Brandywine Hundred woman with a “sharp-edged weapon” during a home invasion, New Castle County police said Thursday.

Jermaine E. Booker of the 3200 block of N. Van Buren St. faces felony charges of attempted murder, home invasion, robbery, possession of a deadly weapon and other offenses for the attack on Jan. 2 that shook the quiet Windsor Hills community, police said.

The woman, whom The News Journal is not identifying, remains in serious condition at Christiana Hospital with face, head and torso injuries, police said. Investigators have not been able to question her, Chief Elmer Setting said.

Police got a break two days after the attack when Booker and another man were caught in the victim’s stolen dark gray Lexus H250 about 5 p.m. Jan. 4 in Newark, N.J. New Castle County police said the Lexus was the only thing stolen after the attack.

Booker has family ties to New Jersey, and the man with him in the Lexus, 20-year-old Kendall T. Briscoe of Newark, has ties to Delaware, police said.

The men were caught driving erratically in the New Jersey city and ran from the car before police could question them. They were taken into custody nearby and are being held in the Essex County prison in Newark, county police Capt. Robert McLucas said at a news conference Thursday.

The car’s Delaware license plates had been replaced with New Jersey tags. Police there ran a check on the car’s vehicle identification number and learned it was the one stolen from the Windsor Hills home.

New Castle County police trekked to New Jersey that night to interview the suspects. The next day Briscoe was charged with theft of a stolen vehicle, and Booker with providing false statements to law enforcement, police said.

New Castle County police searched the vehicle and served other search warrants, leading to the charges filed Wednesday against Booker for the attack and robbery.

Police said they could not release other details about the case because the investigation remains open. The search and arrest warrants in the case are not yet public.

While McLucas said Booker is the only person police can currently charge with the attack, he said additional charges against Briscoe and possibly others are possible.

McLucas urged anyone who has information or saw Briscoe, Booker or the Lexus from Jan. 2-4 to contact Detective Justin Breslin at (302) 395-8110 or jbreslin@nccde.org.

Setting said detectives believe the attack was random and do not know why Booker chose to target the home in the 100 block of Cambridge Drive. The home is tucked in the rear of the suburban enclave off Foulk Road, a few miles north of Booker’s city home.

The woman’s husband found her unconscious and not breathing about 9:40 a.m. Jan. 2 after returning home from errands. She was resuscitated by paramedics en route to the hospital.

Delaware prosecutors are working to extradite the suspects from New Jersey, McLucas said.

Setting called the woman “a true victim’’ of an attack that left residents unnerved by the violence.

A friend has said the victim is a retired data entry clerk at AstraZeneca who is an avid walker and likes to volunteer. She serves Meals on Wheels to the elderly and takes her dog to visit nursing homes, former co-worker Barbara Stepanek said.

“This has shaken the community to its very core,’’ said County Councilman Robert Weiner, who said he met with nearly 100 neighborhood residents, including the victim’s husband, on Wednesday night at the library on Foulk Road.

Weiner said the man was “traumatized’’ by the beating of his wife and the suspicion by some people that he might be involved in the attack.

At the meeting, the victim’s husband “was every emotional. He asked for prayer and for us to heal and come together for solutions,’’ Weiner said.

Neighbor Walter Campbell said the unexpected violence prompted him and his wife to install a home security system.

“Everyone is freaking out,’’ Campbell said. “My wife is beside herself.’’

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