Philadelphia man arraigned for murder Friday

MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A Philadelphia man was formally arraigned on first-degree murder and related charges Friday in the April 2021 shooting death of 28-year-old Richard A. Edwards Jr.

Antonio Kelly, 19, of the 2600 block of North 24th Street, is facing 21 charges that also include second- and third-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy and firearms offenses in an April 9 shooting in the 7200 block of Ruskin Lane, as well as robbery and firearms charges related to an April 7 carjacking in the 7800 block of Westview Avenue, both in Upper Darby.

Kelly
Kelly

 

Kelly stood mute Friday on the advice of defense counsel William Wismer and Common Pleas Judge Margaret Amoroso entered a “not guilty” plea on his behalf.

The carjacking victim testified at a preliminary hearing last month that he was sitting in his car around 5 a.m. as it warmed up when he was carjacked at gunpoint by two men. The men, wearing all black and with black masks covering their faces, demanded the keys to the car and then fled the scene, he said.

The robbery on April 7 was captured by video surveillance. Upper Darby Detective Leo Hanshaw went through that video during the preliminary hearing and noted one of the robbers was wearing a puffy jacket.

A man wearing a similar coat was also seen on the night of the murder, April 9, in video footage played in court.

A video compilation taken from various cameras in the area showed what Hanshaw said was later identified as the same blue car in the area, as well as two men walking in an alley behind Galloway’s Pub and the 7200 block of Guilford Road, which leads to the area on Ruskin where the shooting occurred.

The shooting was not captured on video, Hanshaw said, but the victim could be seen crossing the 7200 block of Ruskin, followed by two men, one wearing the puffy coat, at about 3:10 a.m.

The two men then run back down the alley a few minutes later and the one wearing the puffy coat appears to be holding something to his side, Hanshaw said. The car is then seen leaving the area on Long Lane, said Hanshaw, though the license plate had been swapped out for a Delaware plate.

Police identified Kelly as a suspect when the car was spotted parked in front of a convenience store in the 400 block of Long Lane in the early morning hours of April 16, according to an affidavit of probable cause for his arrest.

An Upper Darby police officer saw the car as he was responding to another call, but it was gone by the time he circled back.

Video surveillance from the store showed two men getting out of the car and entering the store, the affidavit reads.

At one point, both men pull their masks down and the one wearing a puffy jacket was positively identified as Kelly by a Philadelphia Juvenile Probation Officer, according to the affidavit.

Kelly was further identified from a rose gold Apple Watch found in the car when it was located at 56th and Kingsessing Avenue in Philadelphia on April 16.

The watch was synced to the car, which identified it as “Big 53” when it was started to move the car to Upper Darby for processing, according to police. Apple identified the “Big 53” subscriber as Antonio Kelly and listed an address on the 1800 block of Church Street in Philadelphia.

Kelly was arrested June 22, 2022, at a residence in the 2600 block of North 24th Street in Philadelphia. Police found a puffy jacket similar to the jacket  in the videos, the affidavit says.

Assistant District Attorney Sophia Polites played a frantic 911 call made by Edwards at the preliminary hearing, in which he says he has been shot and is bleeding. He says in that recorded call that two men tried to rob him.

Hanshaw said Kelly admitted to being one of the two robbers the victim talked about in that call and identified himself as the person wearing the puffy coat in still images of the carjacking and the alley on the night of the murder. He also identified himself as being inside the vehicle in an image of the car taken from April 9, Hanshaw said.

The affidavit states that Kelly had admitted in a police interview to being with another man who wanted to rob Edwards on the night of the murder, though he put the actual shooting on that other person.

Kelly is being held without bail at the county jail in Concord awaiting a pretrial conference Oct. 24 before Judge Amoroso. No one else has been arrested in the case, according to Upper Darby Police Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt.

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