Suspects told police they took part in quadruple killing, corporal testifies

Two women and two children were found dead in filthy and deplorable living conditions above the garage of a home in the Lanham area early Friday morning.
By Ruben Castaneda
Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Texas man and woman charged with killing two women and two young children in a squalid garage apartment in Lanham last month admitted to detectives that they participated in the slayings, a Prince George's County police officer testified Friday.

After the testimony in a brief preliminary hearing, Prince George's District Court Judge John P. Morrissey ruled that Darrell Lynn Bellard, 42, and T'keisha Nicole Gilmer, 18, should remain held without bond.

Bellard, of Dickinson, Tex., and Gilmer, of Texas City, are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the quadruple slaying early Aug. 6 in the 6800 block of Third Street.

Cpl. Michael Delaney, a county police homicide investigator, testified that patrol officers who responded to a report of a shooting found Bellard and Gilmer at the residence. The pair provided detectives with statements admitting that they participated in the killings, Delaney testified. Gilmer said in her statement that Bellard shot the victims, Delaney said.

The victims were Mwasiti Sikyala, 41; Dawn Brooks, 38; Shakur Sylvester Sikyala, 4; and Shayla Shante Sikyala, 3.

Brooks was the children's mother, and Mwasiti Sikyala was their paternal aunt, authorities have said. The victims were found in the garage apartment amid piles of trash, police said.

Bellard's statement was videotaped, Delaney said. During Gilmer's statement, the video-recording equipment was not functioning, Delaney said.

According to their statements, the corporal testified, Bellard and Gilmer drove to Maryland from Texas to sell marijuana. In the hours before the shooting, Bellard and Gilmer took Brooks for a drive, Delaney said.

When they returned, Mwasiti Sikayla said someone had come into the home and stolen the marijuana, Delaney said.

Bellard became upset and began looking around the home for the drugs, Delaney testified. When Bellard couldn't find the marijuana, he and Gilmer went to Bellard's truck and each retrieved a handgun and returned to the home, Delaney said.

Police sources have said that Gilmer is thought to have blocked the victims' escape while Bellard shot them.

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