Two men arrested over horrific killing of a lesbian couple and their two children at Christmas

The four victims were found in their apartment basement with their throats slashed


Two American men were arrested on New Year's Eve in connection with the murder of a lesbian couple and two children.

Shanta Myers (36) and Brandi Mells (22) along with two of Myers' children Shanise Myers (5) and Jeremiah 'JJ' Myers (11) were found tied up in their basement home in Troy, New York with their throats slashed on December 26.

The four bodies were discovered by a property manager who was asked to check on the family after the mother of one of the victims told him she had not heard from her daughter since before Christmas. 

Justin C. Mann (24) and James W. White (38) were allegedly responsible for the murders and were apprehended by police using security camera footage. They claim the murders occurred on December 21.

Top: Shanta Myers, Brandi Mells. Bottom: Shanise Myers, Jeremiah Myers (Photo: Times Union)

According to Times Union, police officers discovered that all four victims had their hands and ankles bound. The two children were found together in a kneeling position with their heads and chests on a bed.

The body of one of the women was on a mattress on the floor and the fourth victim was found nearby, face down and covered in a bed sheet. 

Mann and White were arraigned Saturday in Troy City Court on several charges including first and second-degree murder but both pleaded not guilty. 

Speaking at a news conference, Troy police chief John Tedesco said: "I don't need to tell you how good it feels to have these two defendants in custody."

A make-shift memorial for the four victims in Troy, New York (Photo: Times Union)

Police revealed that one of the defendants knew one of the victims but didn't provide a motive for the murders. Both men have criminal records and Mann is on parole. 

Tedesco said: "The investigation is still ongoing and that's one of the things that we're looking for." 

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been created to set up a scholarship and provide resources for Isaiah Smith, Myers' surviving 16-year-old son.