An Upper Darby man has been ordered to stand trial for the Feb. 22 murders of two people in Frankford, although nobody apparently saw him fire the fatal gunshots.
William “Pookie” Deputy, 33, allegedly shot Antorie Coates, 35, and Alida Maria Cruz, 30, before driving their bodies in a van to the 4600 block of Trenton Ave. and setting the van on fire with gasoline and a match. During Deputy’s May 7 preliminary hearing, however, a prosecution witness said only that he saw the defendant setting the blaze, but nothing about the actual murders, according to a Philly.com report.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at about 3:55 a.m. and doused the flames within minutes, only to find the charred bodies inside the vehicle. A medical examiner’s report later determined that both victims had been shot multiple times.
At last week’s hearing, an employee of a nearby towing company reportedly testified that he was monitoring the business’ security cameras when he saw Deputy park on Orthodox Street behind a tow truck, exit the van, then begin to douse the van with gasoline. The employee went outside to confront Deputy and told him that video cameras were recording his actions.
After Deputy moved the van around the corner, the employee heard an explosion, then saw Deputy return into the view of the surveillance cameras while patting himself down as if he had been on fire. Deputy then fled the scene.
According to court documents, detectives believe that Coates had arranged to meet Deputy to “buy some weed.” Relatives of the victims reportedly told police that Coates and Deputy had an ongoing dispute over drugs and money.
Municipal Court Judge Karen Y. Simmons ordered Deputy to stand trial on two counts of murder and abuse of corpse, along with single counts of arson, causing a catastrophe and weapons offenses. He will be arraigned in May 28 and is held in Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility without bail. ••