Prosecutors will not seek death penalty in Wilkes-Barre murder case


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty in connection with a Wilkes-Barre murder.

Reynaldo Mercado, 31 is charged with beating and stabbing Fred Boote, 58, to death back in September.


This case started when Fred Boote was found stabbed to death in a second-floor bedroom of his home on Donald Court in September 2018. Wilkes-Barre Police say someone had also tried to burn his body.

The same day Boote was found dead, police say someone tried to burn clothing and shoes in a basement of an apartment building on Maffett Street, which is near Boote’s home.

The night Boote was found dead, police issued a missing persons alert for Louisa Reyes, 14. According to a source close to the family, Boote had a relationship with the teenage girl’s mother. The two had ended that relationship during the summer of 2018.  Reyes was found in New Jersey with Reynaldo Mercado.

Mercado was also dating Reyes’s mother at the time of the killing. 


Reynaldo and Reyes were both charged with Boote’s death. Detectives say Reyes and Mercado went to Boote’s home on Donald Court in the early morning hours of September 14th to burglarize the place.

During a court hearing in November, investigators said Reyes was first to enter the home and walked to an upstairs bedroom with Boote. She allegedly left the front door open so unbeknownst to Boote to let Mercado in the home.

Investigators testified that Boote was texting Reyes’ mother telling her that he was bringing her daughter home when Mercado attacked him by hitting him over the head with a lamp.

According to arrest papers, Reyes said she ran downstairs to get a kitchen knife and yelled at Mercado to stop beating Boote. Reyes told investigators that Mercado grabbed the knife and stabbed Boote numerous times. Reyes admits that she and Mercado poured gasoline on Boote’s body and lit a fire, but that fire burned out.


In November 2018, Reyes waived her charges onto the Luzerne County of Common Pleas for a possible trial. She was charged as an adult.

“So although Miss Reyes is a juvenile, she right now is proceeding to court as an adult. Her attorney has the opportunity to petition the court for what is called a decertification hearing where they can call experts and argue why it should go through juvenile court” said Stefanie Salavantis, Luzerne County District Attorney told Eyewitness News in November.

Also in November 2018, a judge ruled there is enough evidence to send Mercado to trial for the murder of Boote. In December 2018, prosecutors announced they would not seek the death penalty against Mercado.

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