Detroit: Five Men Charged with Abduction and Murder of Two Women
Killings suspected as payback for women's testimony in previous case
Two young women met an untimely death after testifying in court for a shooting they had witnessed.
The bodies of roommates Abreeya Brown, 18, and Ashley Conaway, 22, were found in shallow graves in a wooded area not far from their Detroit home, bound and with gunshots to the head.
The women had been abducted from their home on February 28th by five men: Brandon Cain, 26, Miguel Rodriguez, 24, Reginald Brown, 24, Jeremy Brown, 19, and Brian Lee, 25, who are being charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of torture and two counts of unlawful imprisonment. The men face life in prison.
The victims had testified against two of the men, Lee and Cain, about a separate shooting just three weeks earlier,
Abreeya Brown’s stepfather was the last to hear from her. He testified in court that Brown had called him during the abduction telling him she was the in the trunk of a car.
The stepfather said he was showering when he heard someone ring the doorbell frantically. He rushed to the door to see one kidnapper with a gun and another dragging his stepdaughter. He fired shots at the gunmen as the car drove off. Minutes later, he got the call from Brown.
Authorities said Ashley Conaway may have been targeted for telling police that kidnappers Lee and Cain shot at her nearly three weeks before the abduction. Witnesses have said Cain had been pursuing Conaway romantically.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the women's abduction and killing stemmed from the non-fatal shooting and serves as a reminder for the need to have more effective witness protection.
“'This case represents many of our fears when it comes to vital witnesses in a case,” she said. “These women were heroic. They refused to relent and let these defendants deter them from continuing on with their previous case, and they paid with their lives.”
If convicted as charged, the five men face life in prison without the possibility of parole.