Murderer kills mom after party welcoming him home from 30-year prison term: police
Steven Pratt

A convicted murderer is accused of killing his mother less than two days after he finished serving a 30-year prison term.


Steven Pratt was arrested Sunday morning, less than 48 hours after his release from Bayside State Prison for the 1984 fatal shooting of a neighbor.

Prosecutors said Pratt’s mother, 64-year-old Gwendolyn Pratt, was found beaten to death early Sunday in her Atlantic City home, where a welcome-home party had been held just hours before.

She had picked up her 45-year-old son after his release from prison and took him to breakfast at IHOP, reported the Philadelphia Daily News.

Then she took her son to get a driver’s permit, a cell phone, and a bank account, the newspaper reported.

Steven Pratt had been jailed since he was 15 years old after shooting a neighbor in the head during an argument.

Prosecutors said Pratt began arguing with Michael Anderson after the teen and some friends refused to leave the hallway of an apartment building.

Pratt returned with a lead pipe, but Anderson took the weapon away and struck the teen in the face with it.

Prosecutors said Pratt then borrowed a gun and fatally shot Anderson, and he was tried and convicted as an adult.

"You do 30 years and there's no telling who you are,” said his uncle, Darryl Pratt. “He spent twice as much time in prison as he spent being out. It’s like he just slipped back. Something just snapped."

Gwendolyn Pratt was a widow who lived a simple life and worked for nearly 25 years as a housekeeping shift supervisor at Resorts Casino Hotel, her brother said.

"She was sweet as can be,” Darryl Pratt said. “She was harmless, never hurt anybody. She was always very supportive of (her son). She was so excited when he got out."

Watch this video report posted online by WPHT-TV: