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Reading police: Man responsible for December double-homicide in custody

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:15:33 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 05 2013 05:41:44 PM CST

Arrest made in December double homicide

READING, Pa. -

Exactly one month after two men were gunned down in Reading, police think they've got their suspect.  They say fake drugs were at the heart of the killings.  One victim's brother told 69 News last month, he was trying to turn his life around when he was murdered.

The murders happened on Dec. 4 at 11th and Franklin in Reading.  For neighbors, it was a terrifying wake-up call.

"I heard a car come racing up the street, and then all of a sudden, it let loose with a bunch of shots," said Carl Padilla, a witness.

Neighbor Betty Perry was there too.

"Back to back: tat-tat-tat-tat," she said.  "Like that, you know."

Now, Reading Police have made an arrest.  Maurice Wilkins, 32, is charged with first degree murder and related charges.  Wilkins killed Rafael Alequin of Cumru Twp. and Dario McLemore of Northmapton Co. because the pair cheated Wilkins' brother on a drug deal -- selling him fake crack cocaine, according to an arrest affidavit.  Witnesses told police that Wilkins bragged about the killings and disposed of the murder weapon in a river in New York.

"It was a lot of hard work for us to get him off the streets and get to where we are now," said Reading Police Sgt. Matthew Schappell.

A Pennsylvania State Police SWAT team arrested Wilkins at his home in the 3900 block of Pricetown Road in Ruscombmanor Twp. early Saturday morning.

"I see the police over there, and the sirens, and they say, '911,'" said one neighbor who identified herself as "Cookie."

Schappell added: "He was taken into custody without incident."

After the killings, Alequin's brother admitted Alequin had prior run-ins with the law, but was trying to turn his life around.

"My brother was just a normal person, trying to get by, and he was trying to reform him life, and unfortunately, that was taken away from him," he said.

Wilkins also has a criminal history, including multiple felony drug convictions, meaning he wasn't allowed to have a gun.  Police have suggested there may be a second gunman in this case too.