Omar Sharif Cash was abandoned by his dad, neglected by his mom and raised in the Philly projects by drug dealers, a Bucks County jury heard yesterday.
Cash - convicted Thursday of killing a man and raping his victim's girlfriend - was arrested at age 10 for stealing a car with an older boy, and from there went in and out of juvenile-placement facilities.
He described his relationship with other black men as being like "crabs in a barrel," psychologist Jonathan Roberds testified in Cash's defense yesterday in the penalty phase of his trial.
"They fight each other," Roberds said. "They harm each other. . . . There is no getting out of the barrel."
The jury convicted Cash, 28, of first-degree murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and related offenses in the shooting death of Edgar Rosas-Gutierrez, 32, and the multiple rapes of Rosas-Gutierrez's girlfriend, then 41. The jury is expected to begin deliberations sometime Tuesday on whether to sentence Cash to life in prison or to death.
About 3:30 a.m. on May 11, 2008, Cash kidnapped the couple in their car at Jalapeño Joe's nightclub on Castor Avenue near Wyoming. He forced Rosas-Gutierrez to drive at gunpoint and raped the woman in the back seat.
Cash then killed Rosas-Gutierrez near a ramp from Route 1 onto Street Road in Bensalem. He raped the woman again in a Bucks County parking lot and a Comfort Inn in Lawrenceville, N.J.
Cash's sister Ieshaa Adams, 33, said she and her brother grew up in the Cambridge Plaza public-housing towers in North Philadelphia, which she described as having "trash everywhere."
Their father, Gregory Jones, was distant to Cash, not believing he was his son, Adams said. Their mother, Darlene Cash, was an alcoholic and crack addict.
When he was 6, her brother "was just roaming," hanging with older boys who sold drugs in the nearby Richard Allen projects, Adams said.
Prosecutor Marc Furber asked the jury to sentence Cash to death, contending that Cash created a grave risk of death to others who might have been near the area where Rosas-Gutierrez was killed.
Rosas-Gutierrez left behind a 9-year-old son, also named Edgar. Prosecutor Maureen Spang read victim-impact statements from Edgar and his mother, Karina Jeronimo, who was in court.
The son wrote of Cash: "I think what this man did is like someone not watering a red rose." He said Cash took away his best friend and his support. "I do not feel completely happy in my heart," the boy wrote.