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5 Men Charged With Hamtramck Women’s Murders

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(Best friends Abreeya Brown, left, and Ashley Conaway)

(Best friends Abreeya Brown, left, and Ashley Conaway)

DETROIT (WWJ) - Several young men could be spending the rest of their life in prison for their alleged involvement in the disappearance and murder of two young Hamtramck women.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Saturday said five people will be charged in the slayings of 18-year-old Abreeya Brown and 22-year-old Ashley Conaway.

The five men — 26-year-old Brandon Cain, 24-year-old Miguel Rodriguez, 24-year-old Reginald Brown, 19-year-old Jeremy Brown and 25-year-old Brian Lee — are each charged with two counts of premeditated first degree murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of torture and two counts of unlawful imprisonment.

Cain and Reginald Brown are also charged with one count each of felony firearm. Cain is additionally charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Worthy said Reginald Brown and Jeremy Brown will be arraigned Saturday afternoon, while Cain, Lee and Rodriguez will be arraigned Monday in Hamtramck District Court.

Close friends and roommates Abreeya Brown and Conaway were forced into a car trunk at gunpoint on Feb. 28 after being abducted from their home on Andrus Street. Their bodies were found almost a month later in shallow graves in a wooded area near Six Mile and Telegraph in Detroit. The women had been bound and shot in the head.

Several agencies were involved in the investigation, including Hamtramck Police, Detroit Police, Michigan State Police and the U.S. Marshal Service. Worthy said investigators have been working “around the clock” for the last 36 hours.

“Cases of this magnitude don’t happen in Hamtramck, and with that said, we are saddened that this happened and our hearts go out the families of the victims. However, we are very pleased at the progression that we have made in this case with our law enforcement partners and the immense amount of assistance they have given us,” said Hamtramck Chief of Police Max Garbarino.

Cain and Lee, were previously charged with attempted murder for shooting at the two women in an incident prior to their kidnapping. They are expected back in court next week on those charges.

During a preliminary exam that began last week, witness Andre Douglas, who was originally believed to be involved but was later cleared of any wrong doing, took the stand. He told the court he saw Lee and Cain talking to the two victims on February 8. He said Cain told the women not to drive off or else Lee would shoot. He said the girls then started to pull away.

Police believe the men later kidnapped and killed the women when they threatened to tell police what happened.

Worthy said the women’s abduction and killing serves as a reminder for the need to have more effective witness protection.

“This case represents many of our fears when it comes to vital witnesses in a case,” she said. “These women were heroic. They refused to relent and let these defendants deter them from continuing on with their previous case, and they paid with their lives.”

If convicted as charged, the five men face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Stay with WWJ and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.

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