Attorneys for suspected Route 29 killers say ‘squealers’ are liars

An attorney for one of the Route 29 murder suspects played the old switcheroo in his closing argument to jurors Tuesday, pinning the crime on a man who admitted lifting the car used in the drive-by slay.

Andre Romero

Andre Romero

Defense attorney Patrick O’Hara said prosecutors didn’t have physical evidence showing his client Andre Romero was inside a stolen Chrysler Sebring on Jan. 30, 2012.

However, there was plenty of car thief Louis Alvarado’s DNA inside the car – a fingerprint on the outside of the vehicle and a cigarette butt with his saliva on it – that detectives simply “turned their backs” on.

“What links my client, for sure, with that car? There’s more evidence this guy was there,” O’Hara said, fingering his pen toward Alvarado’s name on an easel.Read more

Judge tosses charges against suspected Route 29 killers

Well, they didn’t know the car was stolen.

That’s the most that can be said at this point for William “Bill Bill” Mitchell and Andre Romero, the suspected Route 29 killers on trial for allegedly shooting 23-year-old Daquan Dowling to death while they motored down the highway in Trenton in January 2012.

Andre Romero

Andre Romero

A judge dismissed counts of receiving stolen property against each man, after prosecutors conceded there was not enough evidence that they knew they were rolling around in a stolen Chrysler Sebring the day of the Jan. 30, 2012 murder.

The car was lifted outside a troubled Trenton bar by a man named Louis Alvarado, who later pleaded guilty to as much. He turned over the keys to Anthony Marks, one of four men originally charged with the murder of Dowling.Read more

Defense attorney to getaway driver: ‘You didn’t hit the brake’

Getaway driver Anthony Marks said Thursday at the murder trial of two friends that he warned one of the suspected killers not to pull the trigger as they drove down the highway in the capital city four years ago.

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

Marks said that when best friend William “Bill Bill” Mitchell announced to the car he planned to light up a white Ford Taurus carrying a rival along Route 29, Marks responded: “No don’t do it. Not right here.”

Mitchell did it anyway, Marks said, after his co-defendant, Andre Romero, opened fire first that fateful day in January 2012.

Twenty-three-year-old Daquan Dowling was struck in the head in a hail of bullets, while the suspected killers gunned for his passenger, Morris Satchel.Read more

Defense attorneys contend Lawrence man is prosecutors’ pet in Route 29 slay

Hours before a city man was gunned down in a cold blood as he drove unsuspectingly along a busy Trenton highway, Jamar Square was putting on a little reggae show for “some females” outside of a bodega.

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

He did the whole Damian Marley-like song and dance, even donning a stitch cap with long, fake dreadlocks.

“You know how to put on a show and make sure people are paying attention and you’re playing what they want to hear?” defense attorney Christopher Campbell asked Square on Tuesday, at the murder trial of two city men.

“I try,” he said.Read more

Convicted killer mulls 25 years in another Trenton slaying

A reputed Bloods gangster who is already serving an 18-year sentence for executing an ex-con who was ready to testify against another gangster could spent another quarter century behind bars if he accepts the rap killing another city man.

Mayleek McInnis

Mayleek McInnis

Mayleek McInnis is imprisoned for the aggravated manslaughter of fellow gangster Shawn Travis, who was shot in the head on April Fools’ Day in 2008.

Now prosecutors want him to spend 25 years in prison for the 2005 shooting death of Omar Murphy, who was gunned down near the intersection of Stuyvesant and Ellsworth avenues

Two years ago, prosecutors said witnesses had stepped forward and pegged McInnis as the killer.Read more

PROSECUTORS: Two men indicted for murder of Elvin Kimble

A Mercer County Grand Jury has returned indictments against two men in the murder of 19-year-old Elvin Kimble.
The 19-year-old was gunned down on a city street in November 2015.

Elvin Kimble

Elvin Kimble

According to the prosecutor’s office that on November 24, 2015 around 12:39 a.m., police officers were dispatched to the area of Chestnut Avenue and Rusling Street on a report of shots fired. Officers arrived and found evidence of a shootout between at least two people on either side of Rusling Street, but did not locate a victim.

Later, at 6:18 a.m. police were called to 112 Rusling Street after receiving a report that a resident’s vehicle was struck by gunfire. When police responded, a Division Street resident approached the officers to report a man lying dead between a parked car and a fence in his driveway. That man was later identified as Elvin Kimble; he suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jermaine Johnson

Jermaine Johnson

Following an investigation by Detective Nancy Diaz and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, complaints were signed on January 14, 2014 charging Gary Spears and Jermaine Johnson with Kimble’s murder. The pair remain in jail on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors said that Spears, 34, of Trenton, and Johnson, 40, of Ewing, were each charged on one count of first degree murder, one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and one count of second degree unlawful possession of a handgun. Spears was also indicted on one count of second degree certain person not to possess a firearm.

The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Ward.

In January 2015, Ward said that an hour before Kimble was shot he was seen breaking into Johnson’s vehicle. Ward said in January that according to an unnamed witness Johnson gave chase and Kimble allegedly fired in his direction.

It is alleged that Johnson recruited the help of Gary Spears to retaliate against Kimble. At a January 2015 bail hearing prosecutors believed that Spears fired the shot that ended Kimble’s life.

Attorneys for suspected Route 29 killers play blame game

Unfurling their blame-shifting strategy, attorneys for two city men accused of killing another man during a Route 29 drive-by shooting four years ago asked a retired Trenton Police detective about boundless possibilities, suggesting cops overlooked other more likely suspects.

In his classic cynical style, patented and perfected over his more than two decades in law enforcement, a nonplussed Gary Britton conceded little when he testified Thursday, sometimes belittling attorneys with remarks as condescending as the questions they asked.

For example, he quipped he couldn’t answer an inquiry from the attorney for suspected killer Andre Romero because he wasn’t a smoker.

The retired Trenton Police detective, who spent 24 years on the force and loosely dubbed parts of his job as “victimology,” wasn’t buying the smoke-and-mirrors tactics employed by attorneys for Romero and William “Bill Bill” Mitchell, who is being tried alongside his co-defendant, as they looked to pin the crime on someone else.Read more

Prosecutors: Trenton teen told police botched robbery murder was a ‘one-man job’

Just do it – for sport.

A Nike sweater-clad city teenager shot a man to death during a “robbery gone bad,” prosecutors said Thursday.

Ricardo Montalvan Jr.

Ricardo Montalvan Jr.

The teenager’s co-defendant, also charged with murder after allegedly acting as a lookout, told police they robbed the city man over a cell phone because “it was something to do,” Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward said.

The victim was 23-year-old Ricardo Montalvan Jr., who a defense attorney referred to as a “street thug” with a long rap sheet – which led the prosecutor to ask the defense attorney to make his case without using “pejoratives.”

The suspects are 16-year-old Divon Ray, charged as an accomplice to murder, and suspected killer, 17-year-old Zakeem Brown.

Read more

Third man arrested for alleged role in Lance Beckett murder

Omar Kennedy (

Omar Kennedy (

A third man has been arrested for his alleged role in the death of a city teen who was shot and stomped in Trenton last month.

Omar Kennedy, 34, is charged with murder and related weapons offenses in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old Lance Beckett. Kennedy was arrested Wednesday morning at a home in Richmond, Virginia.

Officials say the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force developed leads on Kennedy’s whereabouts and sent that information to its counterpart in Virginia. Kennedy is being held at the Richmond Justice Center pending extradition to New Jersey. His bail was set at $1 million. Read more

Admitted killer won’t take back guilty plea, to go forward with sentencing

Admitted killer Curtis Grier told a judge Wednesday he will not take back his guilty plea in the slaying of a city man after a “misunderstanding” between the judge and his defense attorney held up sentencing earlier this month.

Free on $300,000 bail, Grier pleaded guilty this year to a lesser count of reckless manslaughter, for fatally shooting 24-year-old Jahmir Hall, under a plea deal that exposed him to a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Curtis Grier

Curtis Grier

Hall was gunned down in Trenton in April 2014.

Grier’s codefendant, Daniel McCargo, pleaded guilty to a gun charge and was sentenced last month to seven years in prison.

Charged with murder as an accomplice, McCargo admitted being armed with a handgun the night Hall was shot to death, but ballistics revealed it wasn’t the handgun used in the shooting death.

Grier had been charged with murder in Hall’s slaying but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and was supposed to be sentenced earlier this month. But it was pushed back because of apparent confusion about the terms of Grier’s plea deal. Read more