Troy murder suspects’ pasts come into focus

Memorial grows outside home where slayings occurred
Eddie Stanley Sr. (left), of Schenectady, visits a memorial Tuesday at the scene of the slayings.
Eddie Stanley Sr. (left), of Schenectady, visits a memorial Tuesday at the scene of the slayings.

SCHENECTADY — Weeks before police say he helped murder a family of four in Troy, James White was involved in an incident in Schenectady severe enough to be banned from the City Mission, the mission’s executive director said Tuesday.

White, 38, most recently of 850 Albany St., Schenectady, is facing charges along with fellow Schenectady resident Justin C. Mann, 24, in connection with the Dec. 21 killings of a mother, two children and the mother’s partner. 

White stayed at the mission’s shelter for much of last winter, a time during which White had difficulty getting along with others, and he occasionally came to meals there, executive director Michael Saccocio said.

FOSS: Keep Troy murder victims in our thoughts


But an incident a few weeks ago led to White’s total ban from the mission campus, Saccocio said.

“He got into an altercation out on the street,” he said. “It wasn’t even at the mission, but our staff was close by and kind of saw the altercation, so our staff called police.

“At that point, we basically said we can’t provide any services for you.”

The incident did not appear to result in an arrest. A city police spokesman was unable to provide information on the incident later Tuesday afternoon.

Details of White’s behavior came as prosecutors in New York City provided information on more serious past incidents that sent both men to prison.

A family member also said on Tuesday that the family believes Mann knew the victims in the Troy slayings (police have said one of the men did have a prior relationship of some kind with at least one of the victims).

Police arrested the men at Mann’s 627 Hamilton St. address in Schenectady on Friday, police have said.

Police believe Mann and White killed Shanta Myers, 36; her children Jeremiah “J.J.” Myers, 11; and Shanise Myers, 5, and her partner, Brandi Mells, 22.

The building manager at the 158 Second Ave. address found their bodies Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. Police now say they believe the victims were killed the evening of Dec 21. Court documents obtained Tuesday pinpoint the estimated time of the killings as 9 p.m. that night. 

Each suspect faces one count of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder. The charging documents accuse both White and Mann individually of each killing.

The defendants are due back in Troy City Court on Thursday, though that hearing could be canceled in the event of an indictment.

Khalif Coleman, nephew of Shanta Myers and cousin of the children, offered the family’s reaction to the arrests.

“They took it as hope,” he said.

Shanta Myers had an older son who lived with relatives at the time of last week’s discovery. The boy, Isaiah, 15, has been doing as well as he can, Coleman said, and is taking an active role in planning for funeral services.

“He’s strong,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he did not recognize either man, but he said his sister recognized Mann as some kind of frequent acquaintance of Mells. Both White and Mann had been to state prison previously — Mann for first-degree robbery and White for first-degree manslaughter, state records show.

White was arrested in August 1999 in connection with the stabbing death of a Bronx man, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

White was accused of forcibly entering an apartment with two other men in that case. White then grabbed the victim by the neck and instructed at least one of the men with him to stab the 19-year-old.

White pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2001 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison for that crime. A Bronx DA spokeswoman did not have information Tuesday on what led to the plea, citing the age of the case. White’s sentence expired in 2010.

Mann pleaded guilty in Queens court to charges related to a February 2013 armed street robbery. A victim told police Mann displayed a gun before fleeing with a cellphone. A Queens DA spokesperson also did not have information on what led to the plea in that case. 

Mann received five years in prison and was released by statute in April, records show.

At the scene of the Troy murders Tuesday, a memorial had grown to include more than 50 candles, some still burning, as well as toys, balloons and flowers.

An angel made of snow holding a small stuffed bear stood on the lawn. A note read in part, “May peace forever be with you.”

Eddie Stanley Sr., of Schenectady, was one of those to visit the memorial Tuesday. Stanley’s own son, Eddie Stanley Jr., was murdered at the age of 15 in 2011. Stanley Sr. brought some candles and balloons, as well as a condolence card that he got many people to sign, to leave at the memorial.

“I wanted to let them know they’re not by themselves,” Stanley said.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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