New Orleans teenager Dexter Allen skipped a court date on April 22. That same day, authorities allege, he began a crime spree that would end in a double homicide.
That fact and others contained in police reports in Orleans and Jefferson parishes provide new details on the killings of father David and son Nicholas Pence on April 22 in Metairie, in what authorities say was a “random” act by Allen, 17.
Beth Pence told her husband at 11:30 p.m. that she was going to watch TV and prepare for bed, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office report on the killings. David Pence remained in the family room to watch TV and enjoy a glass of wine.
Then Beth heard the sound of what she thought was breaking glass. She called her husband’s name aloud several times but got no response. When she walked to the living room to find out what was wrong, she discovered her husband lying on the recliner bleeding and her son on his back with gunshot wounds.
Beth Pence called 911 at 11:53 p.m. and immediately started giving CPR, but it was too late. Both her child and her husband were pronounced dead at Interim LSU Hospital at 12:17 a.m.
The wide-ranging murder investigation that followed would eventually involve the JPSO, the New Orleans Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service. It would end about noon April 24 with Allen allegedly aiming his car toward a U.S. marshal and then jumping off the Interstate 10 high-rise bridge into the Industrial Canal, where he was captured.
According to police, Allen stole a white Toyota Highlander in New Orleans East in a carjacking April 22, the same day as the missed court date and later the two killings. One of Nicholas Pence’s friends told deputies that just moments before the murders, he had seen a white Toyota Highlander cruising up and down Clifford Drive in Metairie with its lights off.
Sheriff Newell Normand said the U.S. marshals found the Highlander outside an apartment complex in New Orleans East.
After Allen got in the car with Haraquon Degruy, 18, who authorities say was his accomplice in the car burglaries that preceded the two killings, the marshals tried to stop their vehicle. But Allen accelerated toward a deputy marshal, forcing him to jump out of the way “in fear of his life,” according to a police report.
After a chase, Allen crashed into two vehicles on the interstate. Degruy was taken into custody there, but Allen took off on foot, jumping into the Industrial Canal.
Allen’s attempt to swim to freedom failed. He was taken into custody near Almonaster and Jourdan roads with what police described as “minor scrapes from going into the water area.”
Two days later, Normand held a news conference at which he announced the arrests. But the sheriff said many questions still lingered over the murders, the most glaring being why a teenager would kill a father and son for no other apparent reason than greed.
Allen’s prior criminal history appears to provide few clues, but it does show a hint of violence earlier this month. On April 13, according to an arrest report, he was booked on disturbing the peace and criminal trespass for entering a house in the 2000 block of Painters Street. Allen allegedly threatened a resident there and challenged him to a fight out on the street.
“The victim feared for his safety,” the police report states, but it makes no mention of a weapon.
Nine days later, authorities allege, Allen walked into another home in another parish with a shotgun and ended two lives.