Alice Thurnau loved walking in her Port Richmond neighborhood. At 90, however, she became an easy target for two towering men who police said fatally beat her to steal what little money she had in her purse.
Yesterday - more than a year after her death - those men were charged with murder, after authorities followed up on tips generated largely by a sketch created by police with the victim's help.
In an unrelated case, police also filed murder charges in the death of Army Pfc. Terrance Davis, 18, of the Mantua section of the city, who was shot after a teenager felt disrespected and settled the dispute with a gun, authorities said.
Homicide Capt. James Clark called the murders "unconscionable" and "unbelievable" as he described details.
Daniel T. Hart, 23, of the 3400 block of Bowman Street, and Charles Warenecki, 31, of the 2900 block of Gaul Street, are charged with murder in Thurnau's death. Antionne Russell, 16, of the 5400 block of Webster Street, is charged with murder in Davis' death.
In September 2007, Thurnau was walking outside her home in the 3300 block of Thompson Street when two men went for her purse.
She was knocked to the ground, severely beaten and kicked in the attack, which police labeled "a particularly vicious, brutal and cowardly crime."
Thurnau's injuries included a crushed eye socket, cracked ribs, a broken hip, and bleeding on the brain, leaving her face deformed beyond recognition.
She died several weeks later in St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne as a result of those injuries, police said.
Before the attack, police said, Thurnau had an active life, occasionally taking a bus to Neshaminy Mall, and was living independently.
"It's unconscionable," Clark said as he announced the arrests of the two suspects, one of whom resembled the police sketch created a year ago.
There was no need to beat Thurnau, who was "helpless" and likely targeted for that reason, Clark said.
Warenecki is 6 feet tall and weighs 230 pounds; Hart is 5-foot-10 and weighs 155 pounds, authorities noted. After taking a small amount of cash, the men fled and left the victim for dead, Clark said.
Davis was shot fatally in the back at 40th and Ludlow Streets on Oct. 17, just days after completing his military training.
He and a friend had left an arcade and got into confrontation over minor issues with a group of youths who thought Davis and his friend Ronald Morman, 19, had looked at them the wrong way and thus disrespected the group, police said.
Russell, 15 at the time, fired the gun.
"He should have never had a gun," Clark said. "Emotions took over, he pulled out a gun and he fired."
Both men were hit. Davis died hours later at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, three weeks before his 19th birthday. Morman was critically injured, but survived.
Davis decided to join the Army while still in high school and planned to be an engineer, his mother told an Inquirer reporter at the time of his death.
He had finished training Oct. 10 with the 35th Engineering Battalion at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and was working as a recruiter at George Washington Carver High School, his alma mater.
"It's just a sad situation," Clark said. "It's unbelievable."