WILKES-BARRE – The mother of a boy charged in connection with the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy will stand trial on related charges in May, a county judge said Wednesday.
Angelina DeAbreu, 31, of Stroudsburg, appeared before Judge David Lupas for a pre-trial hearing on charges of corruption of minors, tampering with evidence and making false reports in the April 5 shooting death of Tyler Winstead on Hill Street in Wilkes-Barre.
DeAbreu was expected to enter a guilty plea to related charges last month, but her attorneys, Tom Marsilio and Larry Kansky, asked for time to collect evidence in the case.
On Wednesday, Marsilio said his client was requesting a trial on the charges. If convicted, DeAbreu could face a maximum of five years in prison on the corruption charge and two years maximum on both the tampering and false reports charges.
Court papers allege DeAbreu hid a gun while her son, Elijah Yusiff, 14, hid shell casings in a pile of scrap behind a 119 Hill St. home. The gun and shells were evidence in the shooting death of Winstead.
Investigators say Winstead was shot on April 5 inside DeAbreu's 117 Hill St. home when Yusiff took a .22-caliber revolver from a book-shaped case.
Winstead was sitting on a bed in DeAbreu's bedroom when Yusiff turned with his finger on the trigger, according to court papers. The gun discharged, and a bullet struck Winstead in the chest, killing him.
Winstead's family was not at Wednesday's hearing.
Yusiff appeared in juvenile court last month for a disposition hearing – similar to a sentencing hearing in adult court – where his case on unknown related charges could have resulted in the maximum punishment, placement in a juvenile center until the age of 21.
Prosecutors are barred from commenting on Yusiff's case, and proceedings are closed to the public because of the nature of the charges and Yusiff's age, according to state law.
At last month's hearing for DeAbreu, Winstead's grandparents and caregivers expressed displeasure with justice being served for their grandson.
They said they were hoping DeAbreu would enter a guilty plea, but now will have to wait and see how the case ends after a trial.
It's a shame, Winstead's grandfather, Willie Golden, said in November. (DeAbreu) should have done the right things from the beginning.