Trenton man to raise ‘diminished capacity’ defense in 2013 homicide case

A city man accused in the June 2013 stabbing death of his former girlfriend plans to raise a mental defense, claiming he was in a “diminished” state and unable to comprehend what he was doing at the time he allegedly took scissors and stabbed the woman in the neck more than a dozen times, his attorney said.

William Nobles

William Nobles

At a July court appearance, the defense attorney for William Nobles, 41, asked that her client undergo a psychological exam, paving the way for the mental defense.

Nobles’ attorney, Jenna Casper, confirmed that was the case at a Thursday status conference in Superior Court, saying Nobles was in a “diminished capacity” when he repeatedly plunged a pair of scissors into the neck of 54-year-old Celeste Pernell on June 1, 2013. Read more

Judge slaps gag order on lawyers in Enrico Smalley murder case after surveillance video given to media

Fearful that pretrial publicity could impede the ability of the state to put on its case against a city man accused in the shooting death of 20-year-old Enrico Smalley Jr., a Superior Court judge sealed the court file and imposed a gag order that prevents attorneys from discussing the case outside of court.

The ruling from Judge Robert Billmeier comes days after The Trentonian published a story based off surveillance footage it obtained from attorney Edward Heyburn, who is defending suspect Shaheed Brown. Brown, 30, was indicted in November on charges of murder and weapons offense in connection with Smalley’s death.

Billmeier ordered attorneys to refrain from discussing the case with the media, saying he is concerned that now that the video is public it could influence witness testimony. A state prosecutor said at a Wednesday hearing the disclosure of the video has already had a chilling effect on a potential witness. Reciting a number of court cases while issuing his ruling from the bench, Billmeier said he was forced to act to ensure the integrity of a potential trial. Read more

Mother of teen says police didn’t have permission to question son in murder case

The mother of a Trenton teenager testified police didn’t have her permission to interview her son about potential involvement in the 2012 shooting death of a 21-year-old city man, contradicting a claim from police that they took proper steps before interrogating the underage suspect.

Tonyell Jackson, the mother of Zaire Jackson, recalled at a Miranda hearing she was with her two children at a city motel April 20, 2012, when she was visited by three plain-clothes detectives. She recognized one as Detective Otis Wood, who testified he stood by watching while another detective went over the form with Tonyell Jackson.

Police needed the form before they could interview Zaire Jackson, who was 17 at the time, about the April 9 murder of Irvin “Swirv” Jackson, an unrelated man who was shot in the head in broad daylight on Moses Alley near North Hermitage Avenue. Read more

Knovell Desmond pleads down to first-degree robbery

Prosecutors aren’t saying whether one of two men arrested in the slaying of a city barber must testify against co-defendant and alleged gunman Zaire Smith as part of a plea deal that calls for a deacade-long prison sentence. Read more

Watch: Video of Enrico Smalley murder shows he and Shaheed Brown were followed by two men

Surveillance video from the morning Enrico Smalley Jr. was gunned down outside of La Guira Bar shows that someone other than Shaheed Brown gained his attention moments before he stepped outside.

The video also shows two men follow Brown and Smalley down the street moments before the shooting. Brown’s defense attorney Edward Heyburn says that one of those men is the actual shooter, and he believes police never made an attempt to find him.

“In the affidavit of probable cause, they don’t even mention this guy,” Heyburn said. “I don’t even think they’re looking for him.” Read more

Trenton bar investigated by AG’s office after second fatal shooting in 2014 occurred outside

The shooting death of a city man outside of a Trenton bar has drawn attention from the state Attorney General’s Office, which contacted the owner of the bar this week as part of an inquiry into the establishment’s practices, the owner said.

Martin Rodriguez, the owner of La Guira Bar, told The Trentonian he has spoken with someone from Alcoholic Beverage Control, a regulatory division of the Attorney General’s Office that oversees licensing and enforcement issues for New Jersey bars, in regards to the shooting death of 39-year-old Patrick Walker, who was gunned down outside the North Clinton Avenue establishment by an unknown assailant early Saturday morning. Read more

Scene of Saturday morning Trenton murder has had trouble in the past

Detectives spent the weekend collecting evidence, including surveillance footage from two city bars, they hope will help them piece together what happened moments before a 39-year-old city man was gunned down outside a bar wracked by a recent spate of gun violence.

Witnesses described hearing panicked screams of patrons fleeing from La Guira Bar when a hail of gunfire broke out in the bar parking lot shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday morning. Some people rushed to help the victim, Patrick Walker, who was slumped on the sidewalk suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Others ran for cover, witnesses said. Police aren’t saying whether anyone got a good glimpse of the suspect, who remains unidentified and at large.

A neighbor said she was awoken by as many as 10 gunshots. The woman, who declined to give her name but owns Ann’s Place, a bar across the street from La Guira, said she peeked out her window around 3 a.m. and saw a man, presumably a witness to the shooting, leaving the scene in a police patrol car. Read more

Man shot and killed Saturday morning outside of La Guira Bar

A city man was shot and killed Saturday morning outside of La Guira Bar.

Police say they were notified about a shooting in progress at the corner of Poplar Street and North Clinton Avenue around 2 a.m. Saturday. When officers arrived on-scene, they found a man suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim, who was later identified as 39-year-old Patrick V. Walker, was then taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Patrick Walker

Patrick Walker

There are two bars located at the intersection of Poplar and North Clinton: La Guira Bar and Ann’s Place. That location sometimes draws large crowds of people, especially when the bars are closing on early Saturday and Sunday mornings. The area was extremely quiet around 7 a.m. Saturday while police guarded the crime scene. As people drove by on their way to handle morning business, many of them stopped to ask how many victims had died. The expression on their faces showed that they were all too familiar with violence in the city, and some of them shook their head in disgust as they drove away. Read more

Defense attorney for murder suspect says Mercer County prosecutors are withholding evidence of his client’s innocence

Prosecutors say this surveillance photo shows Shaheed Brown (left) and Enrico Smalley Jr. minutes before Smalley was gunned down outside of La Guira Bar on July 12, 2014.

Prosecutors say this surveillance photo shows Shaheed Brown (left) and Enrico Smalley Jr. minutes before Smalley was gunned down outside of La Guira Bar on July 12, 2014.

The attorney representing Shaheed Brown, who is accused of killing 20-year-old Enrico Smalley Jr., says that Mercer County prosecutors are withholding evidence that could exonerate his client.

“They turned over the discovery, but they didn’t turn over any of the videotapes,” Brown’s defense attorney Edward Heyburn said. “I have a good faith belief that the videotape is going to show the shooter, and it’s going to show that it was somebody other than my client.”

Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley said he has no evidence suggesting that someone other than Brown pulled the trigger. He also said he plans to turn over the surveillance tapes before the next court date which is scheduled for January.

“Discovery is an ongoing process,” McCauley said. “We’ve turned over everything we have so far.”

But the argument between the two attorneys does not end there. Heyburn says he’s spoken with witnesses who claim that law enforcement showed them pictures of a suspect in Smalley’s murder who is not Brown. But McCauley says that if Heyburn has spoken to those witnesses, he is the one withholding information. Read more

Trenton man claims self defense in killing outside city bar

The man accused in the stabbing death of a 21-year-old man outside of a city bar is claiming he acted in self-defense, his attorney said at a bail hearing Friday.

Ernier Pacheco, 18, of Trenton, is accused of stabbing Alberto Saquic once in the chest outside Chapala II bar on Morris Avenue.

Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Korngut said prosecutors have not determined a motive for the killing, which took place in the early-morning hours of Nov. 30.

Read more