Charges Filed in Two Cold Case Homicide Investigations
Person Involved: Norman M. Vega, Jr., age 30
Currently incarcerated at SCI Benner in Bellefonte, PA
October 3, 2004, homicide of Miguel Colon: Murder of the First Degree, Murder of the Second Degree, Murder of the Third Degree, Robbery, Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Possessing Instruments of Crime, Criminal Conspiracy
October 14, 2004, homicide of Jason Stief: Murder of the First Degree, Murder of the Third Degree, Aggravated Assault, Retaliation Against Victim/Witness or Party, Propulsion of Missiles into an Occupied Vehicle or onto a Roadway, Possessing Instruments of Crime, Recklessly Endangering Another Person.
Details of Incident:
In September of 2011, Detective Harold Shenk of the Berks County District Attorney's Office initiated a cold case investigation into the murders of Miguel Colon and Jason Stief, which occurred in early October of 2004 in the City of Reading.
Based on the findings on the investigation conducted, Detective Shenk presented sworn testimony of fact to the members of the Investigative Grand Jury from October 13, 2011, through July 11, 2013.
As a result, the Investigative Grand Jury issued a presentment on July 11, 2013, recommending the arrest of Norman M. Vega, Jr., DOB 04/02/1983, for the murder of Miguel Colon and Jason Stief.
On July 15, 2013, the presentment was accepted by the Honorable Judge Paul M. Yatron, Supervising Judge of the Investigative Grand Jury.
Judge Yatron authorized the Commonwealth to prosecute the charges as recommended in the presentment.
On July 18, 2013, based on the investigation conducted and testimony provided to the grand jury, Detective Shenk obtained a warrant of arrest for Norman Vega, Jr., The warrant was issued by Magisterial District Judge Alvin Robinson for Judge Thomas Xavios.
Summary of Facts
On Sunday, October 3, 2004, Miguel Colon was shot and killed during a home invasion at his residence.
One of the witnesses who was present at the home invasion/homicide was Jason Stief.
Jason Stief said that he, along with his girlfriend and Miguel Colon's wife, were together at Colon's residence.
As they were getting ready to watch a movie, 3 males entered the residence uninvited with guns in their hands.
Jason saw Miguel hand money to the suspects. Miguel then fled the residence and all 3 suspects chased after him.
Jason heard 4 or 5 gunshots and he ran outside onto the 1300 block of Mulberry Street, where Miguel's body was located.
Jason positively identified Hector Soto to police officers as one of the suspects.
On October 8, 2004, criminal charges were filed against Hector Soto. He was taken into custody on October 9, 2004, and charged with First, Second, and Third Degree Murder and related charges. In July 2007, he was convicted by a jury of Second Degree Murder and sentenced to Life in prison.
On Thursday, October 14, 2004, Jason Stief was shot and killed while his vehicle was stopped in the drive-thru at the McDonald's Restaurant located at North 9th and Spring Streets in Reading.
During the course of the investigation, a person who was incarcerated with Norman Vega in 2005 advised detectives that Vega admitted to him that he was the shooter in the McDonald's murder. He stated that he and 3 other people fled the McDonald's in different directions and they were all wearing hooded sweatshirts, so no one will be able to identify him.
Vega told the person that he was afraid of being identified by Stief in the home invasion and that is why he and Hector Soto conspired to have this done.
Another person who was incarcerated with Norman Vega advised detectives that Vega admitted to him that he shot Stief to cover his ass.
Vega told him that they followed Stief to the drive-thru. He and another male jumped out of their vehicle and ran up to Jason Stief's vehicle.
He admitted that he pointed a gun at Stief and shot him multiple times in the head.
Vega stated that he killed Stief not only to save Soto, but to save himself in case Soto turned on him.
He said he threw the gun in the river.
Vega said they ran up into Colon's residence because Colon was allegedly selling weed. Colon ran out of the residence, he got shot and they all ran. Vega knew that Stief could identify him, which is why he shot him.
In Closing ... quoted by District Attorney John T. Adams ...
"I want to thank the members of the Reading Police Department, my staff, and my detectives, specifically Detective Harold Shenk, for their relentless commitment to solving this heinous crime."
"Witness protection has been one of the priorities of my administration."
"In March 2010, I issued a Memorandum to all law enforcement agencies stating that 'when preparing affidavits of probable cause and criminal complaints, they need to use restraint in identifying the names and addresses of victims of crime in these public documents'".
"We will not tolerate these senseless acts of murder committed by cold-blooded thugs."
"I will use every investigative tool available to investigate similar cold cases that have plagued our community and no case will be closed until justice is served."