- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The last of three men accused in the 2012 killings of two teenage brothers in a home invasion and drug robbery in Overbrook Park pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to 35 to 70 years in prison.

Terrence Seldon admitted being the driver of the getaway car in the July 24, 2012, break-in that led to the shootings of brothers Christopher Malcolm, 17, and Rohan Bennett, 13, in their home in the 1300 block of Westbury Drive.

The guilty-plea agreement was reached on what was to have been the first day of jury selection in Seldon’s trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

The plea deal to two counts of third-degree murder spared Seldon, 29, a mandatory life prison term without parole had a jury found him guilty of multiple counts of third-degree murder. But it took Seldon more than 90 minutes of talking with his mother, lawyer James Lammendola, and, finally, Assistant District Attorney Peter Lim before he agreed to the deal.

Seldon tried to fire Lammendola, and he argued that his statement to detectives was untrue. Ultimately, what seemed to persuade him was that the plea offer was set to expire Monday.

“We will begin jury selection tomorrow, and the trial will start Thursday,” Judge Steven R. Geroff said.

Seldon seemed to have difficulty understanding that under conspiracy law he could be found guilty of murder even though he sat outside in the idling car while gunman John Gonce and accomplice Michael Holmes forced their way inside the Westbury Drive house.

“I didn’t know what they were going to do,” Seldon protested, adding, “I never owned no gun.”

Lim, however, said that two days before the double murder, Seldon, Gonce, and Holmes invaded an apartment in Darby. In that incident, Lim said, Seldon held a gun to the victim’s head while Gonce and Holmes searched for drugs and cash.

Seldon pleaded guilty in the Darby break-in and began serving a five- to 10-year prison term in August 2012. His 35- to 70-year sentence begins when he finishes that sentence.

Gonce, 31, pleaded guilty last September to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.

Holmes, 31, pleaded guilty in January in a non-negotiated plea to two counts of third-degree murder and is to be sentenced Aug. 6.

According to Lim, the trio believed the teenagers’ parents had stashes of drugs and cash in the house and decided to rob them.

Lim said Gonce dressed in a coat and tie and carried a briefcase, posing as a salesman to allay the suspicions of whoever answered the door. When Malcolm opened the door, Gonce and Holmes rushed in, Lim said, and Gonce shot and killed the two youths. The pair then ran back to their car and drove off.

Police said a search of the house afterward yielded $102,000 in cash, large quantities of prescription narcotics and morphine, hydroponic “designer” marijuana, prescription-drug pads, and four guns.

The teenagers’ parents, Rohan and Cynthia Bennett, were charged with drug violations by federal authorities. Lim said their case remains open.

After the killings, Gonce fled to Baltimore, where he was arrested a month later and charged with raping two teenage girls. Gonce pleaded guilty in January 2013, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and returned to Pennsylvania to face murder charges in the home-invasion case.

After his arrest in Maryland, Gonce admitted his role in the Philadelphia case and implicated Seldon and Holmes, leading to their arrests in August 2012.

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