Girl, 14, Charged In Grisly Wilkes-Barre Murder
WILKES-BARRE — Prosecutors announced Friday that a 14-year-old girl has been charged with murder in the brutal stabbing death of a South Wilkes-Barre man. Authorities previously charged Reynaldo Mercado, 31, with murdering Fred Boote Jr. during a planned robbery of his 14 Donald Court home on Sept. 14. Prosecutors say they have now charged the teen as well with second-degree murder, meaning she participated in committing a felony that led to Boote’s death. The girl is also charged with burglary, and both defendants are now being charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit arson, conspiracy to commit theft and conspiracy to commit abuse of a corpse. Although she is charged as an adult, The Citizens’ Voice is not identifying the girl because of her age. “Fred Boote was brutally and senselessly murdered in his own home,” District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said in a statement. “My office remains committed to finding justice for him and his family.” According to the charges, the teen is the daughter of Boote’s ex-girlfriend, whom Boote kicked out of his house at some point. At the time of the murder, Boote’s ex and her children were living with Mercado at his home at 99 Maffett St. in Wilkes-Barre. Police say that Mercado admitted going to Boote’s house with the teen with the intention of robbing him. The plan was for the girl to get inside and leave the door open so Mercado could get in, and once she got in she lured Boote upstairs, police say. Mercado went upstairs and found the pair in a second-floor bedroom, where he smashed a lamp over Boote’s head, according to police. The girl got a knife from the kitchen and gave it to Mercado, who repeatedly stabbed Boote, police said. Mercado then got a can of gas from the garage and doused his body with it before setting a fire and fleeing the home, police said. Mercado got away with the victim’s cellphone and $25, according to police. Police discovered Boote’s body around 4 a.m. on Sept. 14 after finding his dog roaming the streets of South Wilkes-Barre. The dog’s collar led police to Boote’s address, where they found the door ajar. Mercado and the 14-year-old girl went missing after the slaying, but were soon found on Sept. 15 in West New York, New Jersey. The teen is set to be arraigned later Friday.