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Three Robbers Get Long Sentences in Home-Invasion Stabbing

September 26, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gregg D. Shore, 215.348.6202, gdshore@buckscounty.org

Daron Davis Arthur McCorkle Keliyah Reaves
          Daron Davis                Arthur McCorkle               Keliyah Reaves

Two men and a woman involved in the home-invasion robbery and attempted murder last year of a New Britain Township resident were sent to state prison today for the rest of their young adulthood.

Daron Davis, 20, of Upper Darby, who slashed the victim’s throat with a box cutter and left him for dead, was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison by Judge Raymond F. McHugh for attempted murder, robbery and burglary.

Arthur McCorkle, 20, of Philadelphia, who pistol-whipped the victim and was accused by Davis of ordering him to kill the victim, also received 20 to 50 years for aggravated assault, robbery and burglary.

Keliyah Reaves, 21, of Philadelphia, who helped plan the robbery, was sentenced to 11 years and 7 months to 23 years and two months for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, robbery and burglary.

“It’s hard to imagine a case that would scare the public more than this one,” McHugh said before imposing the sentences.

Davis, McCorkle and Reaves pleaded guilty on June 20 to their roles in robbing and assaulting Thomas Grimes in the 2000 block of Grey Friars Terrace on Nov. 26. 

Grimes, 33, a single father who narrowly survived having his throat cut and the back of his neck stabbed, attended the hearing.

“This was a massacre that was ordered by Mr. McCorkle and executed by Mr. Davis,” First Assistant District Attorney Gregg D. Shore told McHugh. After robbing and subjecting Grimes to physical and psychological torture – including pointing a gun at his testicles and showing him a photo of his daughter to force his cooperation – Davis slit his throat and “they left him for dead. They were on a mission to murder, put simply.”

As the assailants drove away, presuming Grimes was dead, McCorkle and Davis laughed and bragged about what they had done to him, Shore said. “I slit his throat …” Shore quoted Davis as having said. “That [expletive] would not die … I had to stab him in the back of his neck because he would keep movin’.”

After pretending he was dead, Grimes tightly wrapped a towel around his bleeding neck and staggered to the door of a neighbor, who called police.

Grimes was taken to Abington Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery for life-threatening wounds to his throat. He spent 10 days in the hospital, had to use a feeding tube for several months, and missed four months of work, Shore said.

His neck still prominently scarred by the wounds, Grimes told McHugh that he forgave the attackers, saying his only lingering bitterness was that they almost had left his 7-year-old daughter without a parent.

“I obviously can’t forget what happened,” Grimes said, calling it “the craziest thing that happened to me in my life.”

At the same time, “I hold no hatred in my heart for anyone in this courtroom … I can’t walk away with that kind of hatred in my heart. It’s just a shame that this had to go to the extent that it did,” he said, calling the violence “completely unnecessary.”

All three defendants admitted taking part in a robbery set up by Reaves. She had been involved romantically with a nephew of Grimes’ roommate and had stayed over at the apartment a number of times.

Having noticed a number of valuable items in the apartment, such as watches and designer shoes, Reaves plotted with McCorkle and Davis to take them, Shore said.

On the afternoon of Nov. 26, Reaves went to a New Britain tavern where Grimes’ roommate worked, telling him she was supposed to meet his nephew at the apartment. The roommate called Grimes and told him to let Reaves inside until the nephew arrived.

Grimes let Reaves into the apartment and went back to bed, having worked much of the previous night. He awakened minutes later to see Davis and McCorkle standing over him with guns, demanding access to a safe and his roommate’s valuables.

When Grimes said he didn’t know the safe’s combination, he was pistol-whipped by McCorkle and bound with tape. The men then showed him a photo of his young daughter and told Grimes it was the last time he would see her unless he cooperated.

As McCorkle and Reaves ransacked the apartment, Davis pushed Grimes’ head down onto his bed and sliced his throat with a box cutter, Shore said. When Grimes tried to push himself up, Davis stabbed him through the back of his neck.

Grimes said the robbers’ placing of his daughter’s photo in front of him may have been what saved his life, giving him the will to get up and try to survive. “I think that without it I would have just lay there and given up and bled out,” he told McHugh.

At about 11 p.m. that night, all three defendants were stopped by police at a Bensalem motel during an unrelated investigation. Officers arrested Davis for illegally possessing a .38 caliber handgun, but released McCorkle and Reaves.

They were picked up two days later in Philadelphia after Grimes identified them in a photo lineup. A search of McCorkle’s home turned up items stolen from Grimes’ apartment. Davis was wearing the roommate’s stolen Gucci watch and shoes when arrested.

Subsequent searches of the defendants’ cell phones found communications documenting the robbery plans, which began three days beforehand, and discussions of selling the stolen items.

McHugh’s courtroom was packed to capacity with relatives of the defendants, many of whom described the three as good, respectful youngsters who went astray because of drugs or, in Reaves’ case, her association with McCorkle. All three defendants apologized to the victim.

Reaves told Grimes that she had known of no plan to hurt him, and was left so distraught by his ordeal that she has tried to kill herself twice in prison. Her attorney, Craig Penglase, said Reaves has demonstrated her remorse by testifying against her co-defendants and cooperating with investigators.

“She made a conscious effort to commit a robbery,” Penglase argued. “She did not make a conscious effort to commit a homicide.”

Davis said that his mind “was clouded by drugs, peer pressure” when he robbed and stabbed Grimes. “I’m ashamed, embarrassed, mortified by my actions.”

Davis said that he had been enlisted by McCorkle to help commit the robbery and steal drugs from Grimes’ roommate, and that McCorkle had ordered him to kill Grimes before leaving the residence. “I was told to get rid of him,” he said.

Davis’ attorney, Niels Eriksen, called him “a pawn of Mr. McCorkle, who didn’t want to get his hands dirty.” He said Davis also had cooperated with authorities against McCorkle, and said the defendants were “equally responsible” for what happened to Grimes.

Like Davis, McCorkle blamed drug use for his crimes. His attorney, Timothy Barton, said the slashing “came very close to being an unspeakable tragedy.”

Calling Davis’ finger-pointing “nonsensical,” Barton said, “Mr. Davis is the one who made the decision to end Mr. Grimes’ life.”

McHugh said drug abuse might cause many spontaneous crimes, but not a home-invasion robbery that had been planned for days in advance. “This has a level of sophistication (unlike) crimes that drugs cause people to do,” he said.

“I can’t understand why this happened,” the judge concluded. “I can’t understand the indifference to human life.”

The case was investigated by the New Britain Township Police Department and the Bucks County Detectives.

Approved for release by Thomas C. Gannon, Deputy District Attorney.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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