20-year-old Shakeem Carter of Norristown was charged Wednesday morning with murder, arson and related offenses for the brutal stabbing death of 17-year-old Norristown High School junior Kevin Allen.
"This was a robbery," said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. "$350 for a young man's life."
At a news conference Wednesday announcing the arrest, Hogan displayed the three knives allegedly used to kill Allen. And he described the crime in detail.
"He had been stabbed in the neck," said Hogan. "He had been stabbed in the head, and at least one of those stab wounds actually penetrated the skull."
The investigation began on the evening of February 12th. A 911 caller reported hearing a struggle in the adjacent apartment at the Hanover Garden Apartments in North Coventry Township.
"When we opened up that door into apartment 127, that was a doorway into hell," said Hogan.
Investigators found Allen's body in the living room of his father's apartment, face down. He'd been stabbed over 20 times with a variety of knives. Then the contents of one bedroom and Allen's body were doused with cooking oil and set ablaze.
"His throat was cut from the midline all the way across, and the back of his body was burned," said Hogan.
During the investigation, police discovered that Allen and Carter were acquaintances. Surveillance video showed the pair together on a SEPTA bus just before the murder.
Investigators say Allen had been talking to friends about money he was going to get from his father's tax return to buy clothing. That $350 was missing from the crime scene.
Police say it was Carter's motive for murder.
"$350, sadly, is the value of a young man's life today," said Hogan. "That is a tragedy."
When police went to talk to Carter about the crime, they say, he had cuts on his hands consistent with wielding a knife with tremendous force.
And his distinctive tattoos marked him as the same man on the SEPTA bus with the victim prior to the crime. On his neck is the word 'cutthroat' surrounded by flames.
Shakeem Carter is being held without bail.