It's not clear where or when Antorie Coates and Alida Maria Cruz were shot to death or if anyone saw William Deputy do it.
But Deputy is on the hook for it, courtesy of several security cameras that allegedly show Deputy, 36, pouring gasoline into a Ford Windstar van parked in the 2200 block of Orthodox Street in East Frankford in the predawn hours of Feb. 22. When firefighters extinguished the blaze, they found the charred bodies of Coates, 35, and Cruz, 30, inside.
That was enough for Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Karen Y. Simmons, who on Wednesday held Deputy for trial on two counts of murder, arson and related charges.
Defense attorney Wendy Ramos argued that Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb had not presented enough evidence to try Deputy on any charge other than arson: "We don't know how or where the shooting occurred. All we have is a burning car and the remains found inside the car."
Lipscomb had barely responded when Simmons cut him off and ordered Deputy to stand trial on all charges.
The video that allegedly shows Deputy came from three surveillance cameras outside A. Bob's Auto & Towing Center. Jamar Burney testified that he was working the overnight at A. Bob's, monitoring camera monitors when he saw the Windstar pull up outside behind one of the company's tow trucks and park "bumper to bumper."
Burney said he watched as the driver got out and "kept looking around and ducking like he was real nervous." At first, Burney testified, he thought the driver was just going to dump the van and walk away but then he watched as the man took a gasoline can and began splashing it inside the van.
"There's no way he's going to torch that van," Burney said he thought to himself. "He's going to ruin our truck."
Burney said he ran outside and confronted the man: "You can't do this here."
"You're not going to tell?" asked the van's driver, according to Burney.
"I'm not going to tell but everything's on video," Burney said he replied, pointing to the security cameras.
The driver hurriedly got into the car and drove around the corner onto Trenton Avenue and Burney went back inside. A short time later, Burney told detectives, there was the sound of a "whoosh and then a muffled explosion."
Burney said he looked at the monitors and spotted the van's driver back in view "hitting himself and dusting himself off. I think he may have set himself on fire."