DA plans to seek death penalty against man charged with killing 3 relatives in suburban Philadelphia

FALLSINGTON, Pa. — Pennsylvania authorities said Wednesday they plan to pursue the death penalty against a man accused of killing his stepmother, sister and the mother of his children before officials say he fled to New Jersey in a stolen vehicle , where he was arrested last month.

Andre Gordon Jr. appeared in court in Pennsylvania for the first time since authorities said he committed three fatal shootings in the Levittown section of Falls Township on March 16, as well as a pair of carjackings near suburban Philadelphia.

When he arrived at the magisterial district court, not far from where the shootings are said, Gordon was wearing an orange jumpsuit and was handcuffed at his wrists and ankles.

When asked if he had anything to say, Gordon replied in a low voice, “Pray, pray to God.”

In the roughly 10-minute preliminary arraignment, Judge John Galloway denied bail and ordered Gordon, who appeared in court without an attorney, not to contact his minor children and other family members who witnessed the crimes he is accused of.

Galloway asked Gordon if he understood it was a preliminary indictment to read the charges against him, which included three counts of first-degree murder.

“Not really,” Gordon said. The judge repeated the explanation and asked if Gordon understood. “Yes, sir,” he said.

Bucks County District Attorney Jennifer Schorn told reporters outside court after the hearing that she decided to inform the court of her plan to seek the death penalty because of the “multiple murders and serious risk to others.”

“We had the opportunity to speak with the family and hear their point of view,” she said. “Time will ultimately tell how this case will develop. But we had to make a statement before we could be officially arraigned.”

Earlier Wednesday, Gordon, 26, waived an extradition hearing in New Jersey and was transferred to officials in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, prosecutors and the New Jersey court spokesman said.

Authorities say Gordon carjacked a car in Trenton, New Jersey, on March 16 before driving to Levittown in Falls Township, Pennsylvania.

There, he killed his stepmother and sister, the Bucks County district attorney said. He then drove to a second home in Levittown and killed the mother of his two children, authorities said. He is also accused of wounding his children’s grandmother by hitting her with a gun.

The dead included Gordon’s 52-year-old stepmother, Karen Gordon; his 13-year-old sister, Kera Gordon; and 25-year-old Taylor Daniel, the mother of his two children, the district attorney said. Authorities say Gordon’s children were present when he shot their mother.

Gordon then carjacked a second vehicle in Morrisville and returned to Trenton, authorities said. Police surrounded a house for hours thinking he was there, but Gordon apparently slipped out before a cordon was set up. He was arrested unarmed as he walked down the street a few blocks away.

The chaos forced the cancellation of a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County and the closure of a Sesame Street-themed amusement park and several other businesses. Authorities issued a shelter-in-place order for several hours.

Officials have not released a possible motive for the attacks.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro has said he would not allow executions to take place while he is governor, saying he wants the Legislature to work to abolish them. The state’s most recent execution took place in 1999.