Fourth person arrested in 2016 city homicide case

A fourth person turned himself in to face felony charges for his alleged involvement in the shooting death of Christopher Wilkins three years ago, city police confirmed.

Jamal Brown, 40, of 856 Memorial Ave. surrendered Tuesday morning and was arraigned before District Judge Allen P. Page III on charges of murder of the third degree and conspiracy. Page denied him bail. Brown also waived his preliminary hearing.

Brown supposedly got pulled into the Wilkins’ murder, which occurred in late August 2016, all because he “owed a drug debt” to Joseph Coleman Jr., who wanted to get into Wilkins’ first-floor apartment at 505 Park Ave. to rob him, according to court records filed by Agent Trent Peacock, the lead investigator in the case.

Wilkins, of Philadelphia, was supposedly selling heroin out of the apartment he was “subletting,” and Coleman allegedly wanted to rob him of his cash and drugs, court records state.

On the morning of Aug. 30, 2016, Coleman confronted Brown and offered to erase the debt if Brown helped him get into Wilkins’ apartment to rob him.

Police alleged Brown went to the Park Avenue neighborhood late that August morning with Coleman and James Calvin Rooks, and before the robbery occurred, made sure the back door to Wilkins’ apartment was unlocked.

Brown returned to Coleman and Rooks, who were waiting in a car around the coroner, and told them they would have access to the apartment.

Armed with guns, Coleman, of Williamsport, and Rooks, of New York City, allegedly entered the apartment about noon through the back door, which was ajar. Within seconds, the 27-year-old Wilkins was shot dead, police said.

Brown said he saw the two men enter through the back door and “as he was walking away from the area, he heard a single gunshot,” Peacock wrote in an affidavit.

Brown is alleged to have “acted as a lookout to ensure that the back door was open so that Coleman and Rooks could gain access (to the apartment), resulting in the shooting death of Wilkins,” Peacock wrote.

Brown is the fourth person to be charged in the homicide case. Coleman, 38, and Rooks, 27, were arrested in late February on criminal homicide and related offenses. They remain jailed on no bail as does Ariel Harlan, 25, of South Williamsport, who is accused of driving the two gunman and Brown to Wilkins’ apartment minutes before the deadly shooting.

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