Man charged with killing mom, injuring grandmom in Bridesburg stabbing

BRIDESBURG (WPVI) -- Police formally charged a 19-year-old man for killing his mother and critically injuring his grandmother in a stabbing in Philadelphia's Bridesburg section.

The stabbings occurred inside a house around 6:00 a.m. Friday on the 2800 block of Reynolds Street.

Neighbor after neighbor said the suspect, 19-year-old Zachary Pritchett, suffered a suffocating home life.

They believe the stabbing was years in the making.

Kelly McGrath, who lives in the neighborhood, tells us, "It was very concerning to all of us on the street that she never allowed him out of the house."

Another neighbor, Suzanne Galson, explains, "He screamed every night from the back room. He had a lot of issues. The mother was supposed to home school him but never did."

And Stephanie Carbonaro says, "Now last night I had company over and we heard him saying, 'Please leave me alone. Don't do this. Let go.' And this morning this is what happened."

Authorities say Pritchett stabbed his mother, 53-year-old Melizza Wiley, and grandmother, 73-year-old Joan Wiley, inside their home.

He allegedly told investigators that three intruders committed the crime. But he had hand wounds consistent with someone stabbing, and the alleged murder weapon was found in the house.

He was taken into custody and formally charged with murder, criminal homicide, aggravated assault and related offenses.

Pritchett's grandmother Joan was listed in critical but stable condition at Aria-Torresdale Hospital on Saturday.

Neighbors and police say a troubled home life may have led Pritchett, to kill.

It appears, he was locked in his room. Human feces covered the floor, the home had no running water, and the family had few belongings.

Those facts making the home invasion story implausible.

Neighbors say they called DHS and police numerous times, but nothing ever happened.

Police say they responded to the home at least a dozen times within the past year. But what resulted from those responses is unclear.

The investigation continues.
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