Two Berks County brothers are charged with kidnapping, torturing and killing 26-year-old Jennifer Velez-Negron, whose burned body was found dumped in Salisbury Township not far from the Emmaus border two days after Christmas.
Michael Allen Wilkins, 39, and Maurice Adrian Wilkins, 32, of Fleetwood, are charged with killing Velez-Negron, who was said to have been a witness to the shooting deaths of a Palmer Township man and another man in Reading on Dec 4.
According to a release from the Berks County District Attorney's office, Velez-Negron also was said to have been involved in a drug transaction that led to the murders of the two men.
Her burned body was found Dec. 27 near Unami Fish and Game Club off Chestnut Hill Road in Salisbury Township.
A witness in the three cases told of being shown a video by Maurice Wilkins, recorded on a cellphone, in which a gagged Velez-Negron was being tortured, according to the arrest affidavits.
The Wilkins brothers also are charged with the Dec. 4 killings of Dario McLemore, 22, of Palmer Township, and another man, Rafael Alequin, in the 1100 block of Franklin Street, Reading.
The Wilkins brothers face three counts of murder of the first degree, three counts of murder of the third degree, criminal conspiracy, aggravated assault, kidnapping, possessing instruments of a crime and persons not to possess or transfer firearms.
Salisbury police had discovered Velez-Negron's body after a passing motorist reported a small fire on the side of Chestnut Hill Road the morning of Dec. 27. An autopsy revealed Velez-Negron died from suffocation and was set on fire.
According to the Wilkinses' arrest affidavits, Maurice Wilkins had a cellphone video recording that showed Velez-Negron gagged and bound to a chair with duct tape, forced to ingest heroin and physically tortured. Michael Wilkins is observed telling her this is the last time she is going to "set someone up."
Maurice Wilkins told a witness that Velez-Negron was then taken from a home to Lehigh County, doused with gasoline and set on fire on the side of the road, according to the affidavits.
Velez-Negron's legs had been bound with a wire material, and a cloth had been inserted into her mouth and secured with what appeared to be duct tape.
Also according to the affidavits:
—Maurice Wilkins told a witness that McLemore and Alequin had ripped off his brother by giving him fake cocaine in exchange for $700. He said he had shot one of the men.
—The witness was present at a conversation at which Maurice Wilkins again said he killed one of the men on Dec. 4, Michael Wilkins said he killed the other, and a third man said he had driven Maurice from the Reading shooting scene and had provided Maurice with a gun used in the shootings.
—The witness said Velez-Negron had been killed because she had witnessed the Dec. 4 killings over a drug deal and the Wilkins brothers suspected she had set up the drug transaction gone wrong.
—Michael Wilkins had told the witness he also had participated in Velez-Negron's killing.
—Michael Wilkins has multiple felony drug convictions, which means he is not allowed to possess firearms.
Valez-Negron, 26, formerly of Reading, reportedly had been living with a friend in Salisbury. Her prompting investigators to seek the public's help identifying her. They issued a description, including the detail that she bore a tattoo on the right side of her neck that said "Javi."
Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams and Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin held a press conference Tuesday in the case.
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