Murder suspect breaks silence, openings follow as murder trial begins in Trenton

Former Newark gang member Shaheed Brown poured his attorney a cup of water.

Harried defense attorney Edward Heyburn needed it after giving a long-winded and disjointed opening statement Thursday, in his client’s second trial for allegedly gunning down Enrico Smalley Jr. outside of La Guira Bar on July 12, 2014.

Both attorneys’ opening remarks to jurors were restrained, devoid of some of the more explosive material highlighted at the first trial.

Defendent Shaheed Brown listens to trial testimony. (Gregg Slaboda - Trentonian)

Defendant Shaheed Brown listens to trial testimony. (Gregg Slaboda - Trentonian)

Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley’s opening was pointed, though not poignant, as he laid out the last minutes of Smalley’s life, when he was captured by video surveillance walking down the sidewalk with the man accused of pulling the trigger.

“There was no struggle,” McCauley said. “There was only death, only murder.”

Heyburn’s task was more difficult. He tried to reconstruct the murder scene using a stodgy diagram to give the jury “a road map” of where witnesses and others were at the time of the shooting.Read more

Hot potato plays out in jury selection for Trenton murder retrial of Shaheed Brown

Your honor, please thank and excuse juror …”

No. 10 was the “hot seat” on the third day of jury selection in former Newark gang member Shaheed Brown’s second murder trial. Virtually anyone who sat in it Wednesday was a goner.

Defendent Shaheed Brown listens to trial testimony. (Gregg Slaboda - Trentonian)

Defendant Shaheed Brown listens to trial testimony. (Gregg Slaboda - Trentonian)

There was the AMC movie theater manager who said there was “nothing special about me.” The attorney for pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Meyers Squibb with the ex-husband who is a law professor at Howard. She was sent packing by Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley.

Another gunshy man couldn’t keep his voice up. It was a telltale sign for Judge Andrew Smithson that he was nervous and wasn’t a fit for a jury tasked with deciding whether former Brown gunned down Enrico Smalley Jr. outside of crime-ridden La Guira Bar in July 2014.Read more

Teenage girl shot Sunday dies two days later

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

The teenage girl who was shot in the head over the weekend while in a minivan on Jersey Street was declared legally dead Tuesday night.

Ciony Kirkman, 16, was declared legally dead at Capital Health Regional Medical Center around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Kirkman was inside a stolen minivan with a group of other kids when the vehicle was ambushed by gunfire on Jersey Street around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Several sources told The Trentonian that residents of Jersey Street were warned the street was “going to be lit up like a firecracker” minutes prior to the shooting. Read more

Jury selection begins in murder retrial

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.

Defense attorney Edward Heyburn sounded like famed attorney Johnnie Cochran, interjecting race into the retrial of former Newark gang member Shaheed Brown.

By the end of the first day of jury selection Monday, Heyburn had already pulled out the race card, lamenting that too few African Americans are in the jury pool.

Heyburn has not hidden his desire for the jury to be representative of his client, who is black.

Of the roughly 100 people who showed up for jury selection, 52 were told to return Tuesday. Only a handful are black, Heyburn said.

Some prospective jurors were dismissed because of financial and medical hardships. Some said they were reluctant to sit on a murder trial, Heyburn said. And others “thought my client was guilty even though all they heard was a brief statement from the judge about the case and saw he was black,” Heyburn said. Read more

Willingboro man recently released from jail charged with Elliot Simon murder

Virgil Howard

Virgil Howard

A Willingboro man released from jail three months ago was arrested Monday and charged in connection with the shooting death of 52-year-old Elliot Simon Jr.

Virgil Howard, 26, was arrested in a motel room in Bristol, Pa., by members of the U.S. Marshals Service. He is charged with murder, felony murder, robbery and related weapons offenses in connection with Simon’s death.

Simon was shot twice in the chest April 8, during what investigators believe to be a robbery gone awry. Police found Simon lying in the middle of the road in the 100 block of Boudinot Street, and he later died at the hospital.

Elliot Simon Jr. (contributed photo)

Elliot Simon Jr. (contributed photo)

Simon was married to the late Tia Green, whose 19-year-old daughter Tiara Green was killed in a June 2013 shooting on West State Street.

State records show that Howard was released from the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in January this year after serving time for drug offenses.

Howard’s bail was set at $1 million cash only.

Man shot twice in the chest dies in hospital

A man was shot and killed near the intersection of North Hermitage Avenue and Boudinot Street. This is a view of the crime scene on Saturday morning after the murder. (Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman - Trentonian)

A man was shot and killed near the intersection of North Hermitage Avenue and Boudinot Street. This is a view of the crime scene on Saturday morning after the murder. (Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman - Trentonian)

A city man was shot in the chest Friday night and later died at the hospital, ending a two-month period of no homicides in the capital city.

Police found Elliot Simon Jr. lying in the middle of the road in the 100 block of Boudinot Street a few minutes after 9 p.m.

Simon was shot at least twice in the chest, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. He was taken to the hospital and died from his injuries about an hour after the incident.

Simon celebrated his 52nd birthday the day before he was murdered.

Elliot Simon Jr. (contributed photo)

Elliot Simon Jr. (contributed photo)

Police say ShotSpotter detected gunfire near 37 North Hermitage Avenue, and officials believe Simon tried to flee to his West Ward home on Boudinot after being shot, but collapsed in the street.

Several customers on Saturday patronized the Hermitage Deli and Grocery store at the corner of Boudinot and Hermitage and expressed frustration over the city’s latest homicide.

“I heard the gunshots last night. I heard ‘Boom! Boom!’ Two shots,” a woman said after exiting the deli. “This is a shame. It is very sad.” Read more

Trenton man indicted for murder of Edward Nock

Edward Kevin Nock (contributed photo)

Edward Kevin Nock (contributed photo)

A city man has been indicted in connection with the stabbing death of 43-year-old Edward Nock.

Isaac Grey, 32, was indicted last week and charged with murder and weapons offenses in connection with the June 2015 incident that left Nock bleeding on the floor of a Beakes Street apartment.

When police were dispatched to that apartment on the night of June 30, they found Nock lying on the floor suffering from a stab wound to the abdomen. Nock later died at the hospital.

Grey was identified as a suspect in the murder shortly after the incident, and police arrested him in Philadelphia a couple of days later. He remains in jail on $750,000 bail.

Trenton man charged in 2014 murder has a month to accept plea deal

Joeryan Foreman

Joeryan Foreman

One of two men charged in connection with the shooting death of Chevin Burgess has until next month to decide whether he will accept prosecutors’ plea offer or head to trial.

Joeryan Foreman, 23, is accused of helped alleged triggerman Calier Samad, 28, dispose of Burgess’ badly burned body which was found January 4, 2014, inside an abandoned vehicle engulfed in flames.

Foreman, charged with counts of murder, arson, robbery and weapons offenses, has been offered a plea deal that would require him to spend 25 years in state prison for aggravated manslaughter. He would also receive nine years for aggravated arson, which would run concurrently to the manslaughter charge. Read more

Prosecutors, Trenton suspected killer at impasse in negotiations

Tomarkus Whitfield

Tomarkus Whitfield

A Trenton man accused of fatally shooting 33-year-old Pinkey Priester appears headed for trial.

Tomarkus Whitfield, 37, has pleaded not guilty and so far rejected prosecutors’ offer to serve 25 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter. He is charged with counts of murder and weapons offenses after authorities said he pumped more than 10 rounds into Prieseter on June 16, 2014, on the 300 block of Centre Street.

Authorities said the men had a longstanding financial dispute. Read more

Woman accused of stabbing former beau will claim self-defense

Charlotte Carman

Charlotte Carman

During a rare appearance in Mercer County Superior Court, the state’s top public defender said a Trenton woman accused of fatally stabbing her former boyfriend in a jealous rage last year had suffered facial fractures after being abused by the victim prior to the stabbing.

At a bail reconsideration hearing Monday, Joseph Krakora revealed Charlotte Carman will claim she acted in self-defense when she stabbed Paris France Way to death in May 2015 after he struck her in the face with a 2-liter soda bottle.

Charged with murder, felony murder, robbery, criminal mischief and weapons offenses, Carman was extended a plea deal by prosecutors for the first time that would require her to spend 30 years in state prison if she pleads guilty.

Krakora’s self-defense announcement stirred Way’s family members who were in court Monday for a bail reconsideration hearing for Carman. One woman believed to be Way’s mother cursed at the suggestion of self-defense and had to be calmed down by Assistant Prosecutor Stacey Geurds. Read more