An outdoor bonfire party in Chester County that turned violent Saturday night, resulting in two fatal stabbings, has generated two arrests, authorities said Wednesday.
Citing tireless work by investigators, Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody said James L. Jones, 29, of West Grove, was taken into custody Tuesday and arraigned in Avondale district court on charges that included first-degree murder and conspiracy, court records said.
Stephen Andrew Daddezio, 17, of the same West Grove address, was charged Wednesday with aggravated assault, conspiracy, and related offenses, court records said. He was not turned over to juvenile authorities because juvenile court jurisdiction excludes such serious offenses.
The charges stem from the deaths of Cuahuctemoc Bedolla, 27, and Jose Rodriguez, 29, both of West Grove. New Garden Township officers responded to Jennersville Regional Hospital in West Grove at 11 p.m. Saturday for a report that Bedolla was critically injured. He was flown to Christiana Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, the criminal complaint said.
An autopsy found that Bedolla, who repeated, "They got me," after he was stabbed, died of five wounds inflicted so forcefully that his ribs were broken and the knife blade penetrated an inch deep into his spine, the complaint said.
Investigators then visited the 1600 block of Baltimore Pike in Avondale, where Bedolla had attended a party. Witnesses told police a fight had broken out after 10 p.m. among attendees and some uninvited guests.
Carmody said the area was so dark and isolated police did not find Rodriguez's body until Sunday morning. That autopsy found Rodriguez had been stabbed three times, and had suffered a five-inch gash through the torso that severed his right kidney.
One of the witnesses detectives interviewed admitted driving the getaway vehicle for Daddezio and Jones, adding that Jones reportedly said: "I can't believe I stabbed that guy," the complaint said, adding that Daddezio's cellphone, which a source turned over to police, contained text messages linking him to the killings.
According to court records, both victims had criminal histories. Bedolla's rap sheet included a provision of a 2007 sentence on weapons charges that he avoid membership in any gang involved in criminal activity, court records said.
Carmody declined to speculate about whether the homicides were gang-related.
Gang tensions have plagued southern Chester County periodically for more than a decade and led to the formation of a monthly regional information-gathering session of local, state, and federal law enforcement.
Jones is held at Chester County Prison because bail is not available to murder defendants. Daddezio was remanded to Chester County Prison after failing to post $250,000 bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 16, court records said.
"This investigation is very much ongoing, and I commend the New Garden Police Department and the Chester County detectives for their hard work in attempting to solve these murders," Carmody said.
Anyone with information about the killings or the party is asked to call New Garden Township Police Sgt. Joseph Nangle at 610-268-2907, Ext. 100, or the Chester County detectives at 610-344-6866.