A 23-year-old Poconos man must face trial for allegedly killing his accomplice after police say the two robbed a man who responded to their fake Craigslist ad, a district judge ruled Tuesday.
William McRae of Long Pond allegedly gunned down Brandon Fraser this summer because Fraser was getting sloppy in covering his tracks into the July 31 robbery they committed, Pocono Mountain Regional police said.
A week after the Tobyhanna robbery, Fraser, 20, also of Long Pond, was found dead in his bullet-riddled car, police said. Police questioned McRae about Fraser's death, but didn't link him to the killing until a witness came forward in late November, according to court records.
McRae was charged with homicide and related charges Dec. 18. On Tuesday, District Judge Richard Claypool heard from the witness, police and the coroner's office in determining that McRae should face trial in Monroe County Court on Fraser's death and the Craigslist robbery.
According to a criminal complaint:
McRae and Fraser planned to rob someone in July by posting a fake ad on Craigslist, pretending to be an attractive 18-year-old woman seeking a sexual encounter.
A man responded to the ad and was lured to a secluded section of the Emerald Lakes development in Tobyhanna. There, McRae's girlfriend, Emily Woodman, got the man to follow her.
The man was beaten with a baseball bat and pistol-whipped by two men, who also used zip ties to bind him and rob him of his wallet, cellphone and $100.
The man suffered a severe concussion and other injuries.
Police immediately linked the Craigslist ad to Fraser because his personal information was saved with the site, which he previously used to sell electronics. Police said someone tried to use the stolen debit card and surveillance footage spotted Fraser's car.
Police linked McRae to Fraser because they were friends.
Before police could arrest either Fraser or McRae, they received a 911 call Aug. 6 from the Emerald Lakes development about an unresponsive man in the back seat of a car with a shot-out window. It was Fraser, who was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot to the back of the head.
In August, McRae was charged with robbery, along with Woodman, 20, of Pocono Summit.
On Nov. 26, police interviewed Woodman again, and she opened up about the killing, authorities said.
Woodman told police that days before Fraser was killed, McRae told her he "needed to go" because he was talking too much about the Craigslist robbery and was getting sloppy, according to court records.
She told police she drove McRae on Aug. 5 to an abandoned home where he got a rifle, then wore a ski mask, hunting outfit and gloves and hid in the woods.
Woodman said McRae texted Fraser to drive to his location. Fraser parked, got in the back seat of his car and started watching a movie on a portable DVD player as he waited for McRae.
Woodman told police McRae emerged from the woods and pointed the rifle at Fraser's rear window. She then heard a shot and McRae yelled for her to grab the cellphone out of Fraser's car.
She said she could see that Fraser was dead, authorities said.
Woodman later took investigators to the abandoned house, where police recovered rifle ammunition that matched the bullet used to kill Fraser, police said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services