NEW YORK – Six people slain in rural Pennsylvania were memorialized Wednesday evening in New York City, where the family lived for decades before trading in urban streets for what was supposed to be a quieter life in the country.
Weeping relatives filed past six flower-draped coffins — including a child-size casket for the youngest victim, a 5-year-old boy named Chance — before the service at Brooklyn's Mount Sinai Cathedral overflowing with more than 500 people.
Investigators said a young relative confessed to the slayings after the bodies were discovered in the in Leola, Pa., home's basement earlier this month. The motive remains a mystery.
Over the Palm Sunday weekend, police said, Jesse Wise Jr., 21, bludgeoned or strangled everyone in the home, leaving the walls and ceilings in three bedrooms splattered with blood.
Among the victims was the clan's 64-year-old matriarch, Emily Wise, who tended to three generations of relatives living under her roof while her husband, Jessie L. Wise, commuted weekdays to work in his Brooklyn construction business.
The Rev. Clarence Sexton Jr. said Emily Wise "loved her grandchildren, whether they were right or whether they were wrong."
"She loved them, and I know for a fact that regardless of the circumstances she would still want us to pray for the soul," he said, stopping amid thunderous applause and cheering. It was clear he was referring to Jesse Wise Jr., who is charged with six counts of criminal homicide.
Police said the young man also killed his uncle Jessie James Wise, 17; his aunt Agnes Arleen Wise, 43; another aunt, Wanda Wise, 45; and her two children, Skyler Wise, 19; and Chance.