Teen Now Charged with Homicide in Stabbing Death

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SCRANTON -- A teenager in Scranton in now charged with homicide after police say she killed a young woman over the weekend.

Cathleen Boyer, 16, stabbed Kayla VanWert, 18, on Sunday during a fight on McKenna Court, according to investigators. VanWert later died at the hospital.

The 16-year-old high school sophomore kept her head down Thursday as she headed into her arraignment to be charged as an adult with criminal homicide.

Cathleen Boyer had just three words for her alleged victim.

"Rest in peace."

The two girls allegedly started fighting on Facebook. VanWert believed her boyfriend was seeing Boyer, so they arranged to meet Sunday night in McKenna Court.

The feuding girls were joined by an audience. According to court papers, five other teen girls watched as Boyer and VanWert punched each other.

Police do not know if both girls brought a weapon to the fight, but witnesses say two knives were brought into the alleyway.

Scranton police say Boyer is part of a scary growing statistic. This homicide is the fourth in the city involving juveniles in the past three years. Statistics by Scranton police show that although violent crime has decreased in the city juvenile violent crime has grown.

"National statistics have it on the slow decline; it's been that way for a number of years."

Dr. David Palmiter is a child psychologist and professor at Marywood University. He says though Scranton's juvenile crime stats do not match national trends, there may be an explanation for increased violence among young people in Scranton.

He believes it could lie in the way the teens in this case talked with each other over social media.

"Folks are in pain. They have some frustration, but they don't have that feedback, that face to face, so they're more unfettered in what they say. Certainly that's the case for humans whose brains are still developing, like teenagers," said Palmiter.

"Our last two homicides involve juveniles," said Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano. "Violent crime in the city of Scranton is on the decline. Juvenile crime is on the incline."

Police believe Boyer and VanWert were fighting over a boyfriend – Jorge DeJesus – who is the father of VanWert's one-year-old daughter.

Boyer was taken back to the Lackawanna County Prison after her arraignment. She is being kept separate from the rest of the prison population.

There's a viewing for VanWert scheduled for Thursday evening and a public vigil planned for Friday night.


  • Victor Dolor

    This girls lawyer sucks. Make her look presentable and tell her to have a sorry attitude. She looks like Michael Myers daughter right now. Make her hair nice and have her act like a sorry dumb teenager and with some good lawyering she might have a shot at life.

  • Amy Price

    Why are the other girls who were there being charged with accessory to murder? There were ample opportunities for them to break it up. Especially when the victim yelled “she’s stabbing me”. Scranton needs to step up and make an example out of all of these punks.

    • Lynn Price

      I’m curious as to why the other girls who were there are not being charged with accessory to murder? They all heard the victim yell “she’s stabbing me” then took to Facebook to brag about it. Scranton needs to step up and make examples of all these punks.

    • Writer Girl

      Agree they’re lowlife scum who should be made an example of. Charge them, jail them, fine them and maybe the morons will think twice in the future, because otherwise, there will be the same in the future.

    • Writer Girl

      And you want to know this Why???? Because certain groups are violent and experts with knives?


    Good, keep her off the streets so she can’t kill anybody else. And make sure she doesn’t have access to FACEBOOK in prison!


    It was self defense the other female went looking for her (SHE ASKED FOR IT)! Is self defense a crime now?

  • p wep (@pat4597)

    A shame, Scranton is falling apart. You people better do something before you get to a point where you can never fix it.

  • Gary smith

    Research your Judicial system ? Where did you get them statistics? A person who gets life in prison gets the same amount of appeals that a death sentence brings! Anyways it’s very expensive, however innocent folks have been released after decades of being Locked up however this isn’t the case here. We know she did it now eye for a eye and get it over with

  • Gary Smith

    Thank god, one less person tugging at my wallet sucking up disability has been planted! Now if this young hoodlum hangs herself in prison it will be 2 less!

  • injustice

    Well if statistics show such violence in our cities. Don’t you think some programs in school should be mandatory. We put our children in your hands to learn so they can grow to be productive and successful as adults. Nobody finds it important enough to make some serious changes in our systems so these unesassary deaths can be prevented. This girl will not show real remorse until the reality of her crime sets in. Unfortunately too late. Why not teach them stricter consequences when serious actions are attempted or played out.? Solution or do we live with these horrible acts and hope one day it doesn’t happen to our loved ones?

    • Poonus

      yeah. sure…. you somehow think it’s the schools job to fix 16 years of bad parenting…if your kid doesn’t know the meaning of the word “NO” by the time they are 5 years old, you failed as a parent.

  • Elaine

    How about we give her the death penalty so we don’t have to pay to keep her in prison for the rest of her life?

  • Writer Girl

    Well, the victim went looking for trouble and got it, all over some jailed scumbag who was cheating on her, allegedly, but don’t get mad at him. Don’t ever think twice about him. Blame the female, morons. Shame on those jerks who watched this fight go down and did nothing. How do you like the blood on your hands, hotshots, or don’t you even care?

  • Raven

    Next Obama will be on the news talking about we need more strict Knife regulations, and need to strengthen Knife background checks… oh wait….

  • Brady

    Jorge DeJesus is 18 years old. According to his arrest record, he showed up at the girlfriend’s mother’s house to have dinner (intoxicated) then went upstairs and fired off a handgun through the ceiling. Where does an 18 year old get alcohol and firearms and why would the mother even let him in her house? This is the guy these girls were fighting over? Sounds like a real catch.

      • U Bolt

        I’m wondering if the down votes of your comment are because he is not Puerto Rican, or that they don’t know that Puerto Ricans are citizens (and have been since 1917).

  • Nicole

    When I was 16 I was working 2 jobs to save up $$$ for a car and insurance. I graduated 11th in my class. These kids today are completely out of control. No respect and no responsibility. Poor parenting at its best.

  • brian

    what is wrong with these kids? where are the parents? the girl who dies got knocked up at 16, the girl who allegedly killed her is 16 and they’re fighting over a convict…just curious how old the baby daddy is…anybody know? when we were that age we were riding our bikes and playing space invaders at the bowling alley.

    • David

      Way to just generalize a whole city population. Noone cares what you think. Keep hiding behind your computer, coward.

      • Frank Rizzo

        Hey, calling someone a coward online hiding behind a computers is basically exactly what you are doing. Isn’t this how the girl just got stabbed, by them taking it offline and not hiding behind a computer?

    • E

      I agree, it’s a dumping ground for low lifes with no manners. Spot on with the coal mining reference. 👍

    • Alison

      yep, nothing but ghetto trash now!!! i dont feel sorfy for any of them! im done feeling sorry and making excuses! let them all kill each other, then maybe scranton can get back to normal!

    • injustice

      I am offended by your “Coal mine” comment. Um incase you forgot Coal miners are our ancestors. They are not scum
      They were strong men who busted their asses and died working for a dime a day to support their families. If you were originally from NEPA you would know that. I figured the trains in Scranton would give that clue. Please do not compare this unfortunate death with the men who sacrificed their lives everyday to feed their families. Don’t mock them or disrespect my heritage or ancestors. My grandfather died with black lung making sure America’s ass was warm. Ty

      • E

        Save the coal miner sob story, I’m sick of hearing that nonsense. Lol. Your ancestors, most likely Irish or Polish, were given the death sentence of working the mines because no decent community wanted them. “Strong men” ha! You mean uneducated, abusive alcoholics. They didn’t choose the profession, it was all they could find. Your heritage is a pathetic joke and based on how the “die hard” coal miner Scranton locals behave it’s no mystery to me why no one outside the region, then and now, cares about them in any way. When coal struck in NEPA the unwanted scum of Europe at the time, Irish and Polish Catholics, were dumped there to keep them out of decent communities. Now the unwanted scum of this country in the form of alcoholics, drug addicts and homeless are being dumped there. Scranton the dumping ground past, present and future. Now go litter your front yard with large chunks of coal for decoration. Ha!

      • E

        Writer girl a person can’t be of “racist descent” because it’s a way of viewing the world and a choice, not part of a persons dna that is passed on from their parents during conception. Lol. Also it’s being prejudice, not racist super genius. Racism is directed towards people of a DIFFERENT race. White people can’t be RACIST toward other whites, by definition ha ha ha! You wouldn’t be a stereotype stupid Polock who makes unintelligent statements just to get in the last word to feel as if you’ve won an arguement, are you? :)

  • Tammy Wolfe

    She should be charged with premeditated murder. No one shows up to a fight, carrying a knife, just to chop onions. She hasn’t shown an ounce of remorse for her actions. Hopefully, she get’s life without parole.

    • Writer Girl

      Innocent until proven guilty. She didn’t pull the knife right away, so maybe it was self defense, so let the courts handle it.

  • Frank Rizzo

    Everyone is forgetting, the other girl willingly went there for a fight. Both are just as guilty.Its not like the jumped her, they both went there to fight. This is what happens. Daddy in jail, mom in the ground, sounds like the kid is better off. Next.

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