Trenton double murder suspect plotted to kill ‘rat’ codefendant
Shaquille McNeil wanted “Chuck E Cheese” dead.
Chuck E Cheese wasn’t the mascot of the popular family fun center but a “rat” co-defendant he believed was going to testify against him in the double slaying of a Philadelphia rapper and his friend, according to newly obtained court documents.
Detectives outlined the alleged setup in criminal complaints for two of McNeil’s associates charged in the wild witness extermination plot.
Kimberly Whitaker, 23, McNeil’s girlfriend, and Bobby Hood, 26, both of Trenton, were charged last week with conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering.
They’re accused of assisting McNeil, who is jailed at the Mercer County correction center awaiting trial, with his plan to take out co-defendant Tashawn Santiago.
McNeil thought Santiago was cooperating with cops and prosecutors in the double slaying of Jerard Perdomo and his 19-year-old friend, Ivan Rodriguez.
Whitaker’s and Hood’s arrests brought the number of people charged for having roles in the double slaying or attempting to snuff out potential witnesses to eight.
Authorities acknowledged Wednesday two more alleged accomplices, Yahonatan Salter and Timothy Lewis, have been charged in connection with the witness hit plot.
Others include Cecil Blake, 31, Lakeisha Hill, 29, Felicita Gee, 43, and Fantasia Gee, 24.
Blake is a convicted killer who survived being shot several times in April.
Perdomo-Santana, an aspiring rapper who had released his debut mixtape under the stage name Elmii Problema, and Rodriguez were gunned down inside a black Ford Taurus on Jan. 22, near Washington Street and Ashmore Avenue in the Chambersburg section of the city.
The two were allegedly waiting to hawk a pill to a Trenton resident, according to court documents.
The authorities believe McNeil, Blake and Santiago were in a black Chevy Impala that pulled up next to Perdomo-Santana and Rodriguez prior to the shooting.
The three suspects got out and at least one of them got into the back seat of the victims’ car and shot them dead before the Impala sped off while the suspects ditched a pair of handguns out the window.
McNeil was apparently upset Santiago is free while he was detained at the county jail awaiting trial.
Trenton Police Detective Scott Peterson wrote in probable cause affidavits that he subpoenaed McNeil’s phone records once he learned McNeil was contacting associates to map out Santiago’s murder.
The criminal complaints mentioned Salter and Lewis, who were identified as McNeil associates allegedly involved in the murder plot.
A county prosecutors spokesman said Salter and Lewis were arrested Oct. 12.
Salter was locked up by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office on an unrelated warrant when he was served with the latest charges.
Lewis, Salter and McNeil each faces conspiracy and witness tampering charges.
Peterson said it became “clear” after listening to McNeil’s taped jailhouse phone calls with Whitaker, between Sept. 20 and Oct. 5, that he was attempting to set up a hit.
The detective conceded McNeil never used the words “kill” or “murder” during the conversations.
Instead, McNeil communicated in code and used street names and slang to talk to Whitaker and others, authorities said, referring to Santiago as “Chucky-Cheese” [sic], the detective wrote, indicating those who help law enforcement are called “rats.”
From there, Peterson deduced: “Hence the Chucky-Cheese expression.”
McNeil tried to slip his girlfriend, Whitaker, a coded message that was Santiago’s address, Peterson wrote.
McNeil explained to Whitaker the first number of the address was the first number of her phone pin code, followed by a four and a seven.
Detectives determined 147 was a coded message that matched up with the digits of Santiago’s address, according to the complaints.
On another call, Whitaker allegedly three-wayed with McNeil and Salter, also known as “Pound.”
During the Oct. 3 conversation, McNeill allegedly asked Salter for help taking out Santiago.
Salter told McNeil he was “going to get that done for you,” the detective wrote.
The same day, McNeil and Whitaker also talked to Hood, AKA “B-Hood,” the authorities said.
McNeil told Hood to “park up” near Santiago’s home and scope it out.
In yet another call the same day, McNeil instructed Lewis that Whitaker would get him Santiago’s address so Lewis could track Santiago down and kill him, according to the court documents.
Lewis allegedly told McNeil no one would recognize him because he had gotten a new “sh-t,” referring to his vehicle.