WILKES-BARRE — A Philadelphia man was arraigned Monday on charges he fatally shot a woman whose body was found inside her Matson Avenue apartment on Friday.
Zien Nathaniel Council, 18, is charged with an open count of criminal homicide in the death of Brittney Reynolds, 26. Council was tracked down and taken into custody by Philadelphia police on Saturday.
Police suspect Reynolds was killed Dec. 17. Her body discovered during a welfare check on Friday, three days later.
An autopsy performed Sunday determined Reynolds died from a gunshot wound to the head. Her death was ruled a homicide by the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office.
Council was arraigned by District Judge Thomas Malloy in Wilkes-Barre and jailed without bail at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. His preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
According to the criminal complaint:
Council was detained by police on Saturday after Philadelphia police spotted Reynolds’ vehicle, a 1999 Toyota, being driven by Jacques Davis. Davis told police Council allowed him to drive the vehicle as Council told him his girlfriend was arrested on bench warrants and police let him take the vehicle.
Police tracked the vehicle to Philadelphia by EZ-Pass records.
After Davis was stopped in Philadelphia, police learned Council was at Davis’ residence in Philadelphia, where he was detained.
Investigators say Council was in possession of a green Ruger .380-caliber handgun, the same type Reynolds recently purchased.
Two witnesses who are not named in the complaint told investigators Reynolds was dating a man they knew as “Zien” from Philadelphia, and Reynolds would often drive to Philadelphia to pick him up and return to Wilkes-Barre.
Council told investigators he met Reynolds at the Red Rock Job Corps near Lopez several weeks ago when she began working at the facility. He claimed they began a sexual relationship, the complaint says.
Investigators said in the complaint Council claimed Reynolds picked him up in Philadelphia sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. on Dec. 17 and they drove to Wilkes-Barre, where she stopped at a Turkey Hill store on George Avenue. Council claimed he purchased two boxes of condoms and they hung out watching television at Reynolds’ apartment.
Council claimed he had a doctor’s appointment in Philadelphia on Dec. 18 and Reynolds wanted to drive him back to Philadelphia. Council did not want to leave and asked Reynolds if he could borrow her Toyota.
Investigators said Council admitted to being alone with Reynolds in her apartment and no one else was present when he left. He claimed he attempted to call Reynolds several times but she never answered, the complaint says.
During the interview with Council, investigators informed him Reynolds was dead but never explained how she was killed.
In response, Council stated he “never pulled a trigger” on anyone, telling investigators he assumed Reynolds was shot, the complaint says.
According to Reynolds’ Facebook page, she was employed as a residential advisor at Red Rock Job Corps. A gofundme account has been set up to help her family: https://bit.ly/2s6lYtu