PHOENIXVILLE — Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan officially commended the Phoenixville Police Department for their work which helped secure the convictions of three in the murder of Selvin Mamerto Lopez-Mauricio.
“The Phoenixville Police Department made sure there was justice for this family here,” Hogan said. “They took this case day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year until they had these defendants blocked in, no place to run.”
Saleem I. Williams, Stephen Reidler and Monique Robinson were all tried in the Sept. 14, 2011 murder of Lopez-Mauricio, 23.
Williams, 21, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, among other charges, and was sentenced to between 40 and 80 years in prison. Reidler, 25, plead guilty to burglary and will face between 20 and 40 years in prison and Robinson, 19, who remained on the run for months after she was first named a person of interest, was found guilty as an accomplice in second-degree murder, robbery, aggravated assault, theft, conspiracy, firearms violations and running from police.
Her sentencing is slated for later this month.
Hogan commended the department for getting all parties involved in the robbery-gone-wrong that ended with the shooting death of Lopez-Mauricio.
“There was time in the bad old days of Phoenixville... where a case like this might not have been solved,” Hogan said. “Or, if it had been solved, it might have gotten one defendant.”
Because of the town’s “invest(ment)” in its police force, all three are now in jail and “an incredibly strong message” has been sent to criminals, Hogan said.
Hogan called Lopez-Mauricio’s murder a case of a “shattered American Dream.”
Lopez-Mauricio was a Guatemalan immigrant who had just returned from a shift at a fast food restaurant when Williams, Reidler and Robinson held him up for the backpack he was carrying and eventually shot him.
“He was hard-working man who was sending money back to his family in Guatemala,” Hogan said. “He was looking for a better life here.”
In the efforts to solve the case, Phoenixville Police Chief Bill Mossman said his department could not take all the credit, that it was “definitely a collaborative effort.”
“(The district attorney’s office and county detectives) called us up and said, “Chief, what do you need?’” Mossman said.
Mossman said the detectives from the county, “lived here, around the clock, for at least two weeks.”
Hogan named Phoenixville as an inspiration to other communities.
“When I go around the county and speak to other places that want to revitalize themselves, I speak about the ‘Phoenixville Model,’” Hogan said.
In order to bring in businesses that could prosper, Hogan said Phoenixville’s leadership recognized the need for a “strong police department.”
Mayor Leo Scoda said the borough’s police have been key to the area’s development.
“We have a reputation of a good place to work and a good place to live and we have to keep that,” he said. “I’ve lived her for 50 years and I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”