HARRISBURG―Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that a jury has rendered a guilty verdict for Samson Washington and Marekus Benson on charges related to the 2017 double homicide of two Somerset County men, Damien Staniszewski and James Smith.
“Drug trafficking is an inherently dangerous enterprise,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “The defendants in this case kidnapped, assaulted, and eventually killed their victims in order to continue to operate and profit from their drug operation. Today’s guilty verdict holds these individuals accountable for their crimes and brings justice to the Staniszewski and Smith families.”
In March 2017, the defendants, who are members of East Main Money Gang (EMMG), tracked down Staniszewski and Smith after they stole drugs and cash from an EMMG stash house. The defendants then kidnapped the two young men, tied them up, and assaulted them, before killing them both. The victims’ remains were found in September 2017, revealing the cause of death to be gunshot wounds to the head and blunt force trauma.
Washington was found guilty of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, kidnapping, persons not to possess firearms, and unlawful restraint. Benson was found guilty of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, kidnapping, persons not to possess firearms, and unlawful restraint.
This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Evan Lowry and Deputy Attorney General Kara Rice.
# # #