Charges against man in Lamberton Street beating upgraded to murder

Jonathan Weathers

Jonathan Weathers

Charges filed against a Trenton man accused of brutally beating a well-respected member of the capital city’s arts and music community have been upgraded to murder.

Jonathan Weathers, 25, has been charged with murder and felony murder in connection with the death of 60-year-old Stephen Merrill.

Weathers has been in jail ever since his August 10 arrest for allegedly beating Merrill on Lamberton Street the week prior. Read more

Trenton men get life for murder of Mercer corrections officer

Former Mercer County corrections officer Carl Batie had a “heart as big as this world” and the swagger of a GQ model, his colleagues and family members said.

Elaine Batie, Carl’s mother, daubed her eyes while remembering the moment her second-oldest son was placed into her arms on March 3, 1985. She smiled so much her “cheeks began to hurt.”

Maurice Skillman

Maurice Skillman

That smile disappeared Nov 11, 2012, when Batie was shot in the head while celebrating the re-election of President Barack Obama with his brother, Karshawn, at a Trenton banquet hall.

“That smile I had on my face for 27 years became a frown,” Elaine Batie said. “Every day I think he’s coming home through the front door from a long day at work.”

Before a packed courtroom Friday in Mercer County criminal court, a judge handed life sentences to two city men for their roles in taking Batie’s life.Read more

Man beaten on Lamberton Street dies in hospital

Stephen Merrill

Stephen Merrill

The man who was brutally beaten while walking home earlier this month has died in the hospital. He was very active in Trenton’s arts and music community, and his death has saddened all who knew him.

He was the kind of guy who makes the city of Trenton special,” TC Nelson, owner of Trenton Social, told The Trentonian after hearing the news Thursday. “He was supportive of everything and everyone who was trying to do something positive in the city.”

Stephen Merrill, 60, was brutally beaten around 3 a.m. August 2 in the 900 block of Lamberton Street. He suffered a brain bleed, a collapsed lung, facial fractures, a broken arm and broken ribs. Merrill died in the hospital Wednesday after being taken off of life support. An autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of his death is scheduled for Friday. Read more

Trenton man denies killing friend over drug debt

A city man who may have shot another man to death over a drug debt denies being involved in his friend’s death.

But Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward said at a bail hearing Monday morning that at least one witness identified 37-year-old Alberto Perez, who has been charged with murder and weapons offenses, as the man behind the fatal Aug. 5 shooting of Jonathan Jimenez.

Alberto Perez

Alberto Perez

Jimenez was shot in the chest and found in the street on the first block of Cummings Avenue.

A judge maintained Perez’s bail at $750,000 after hearing from prosecutors, who said a witness told police that after the shooting, Perez fled in a Honda Civic that was later located a few blocks away from the slaying.

Perez lived a short distance away from the murder, on Anderson Street.Read more

Man charged in connection with Chambersburg murder

Alberto Perez

Alberto Perez

A city man accused of killing his close friend may have pulled the trigger over an $80 drug debt.

Alberto A. Perez, 37, is charged with murder and related weapons offenses for allegedly killing Jonathan Jimenez, who was gunned down last Friday.

Jonathan’s relatives say he and Perez were close friends, and that they may have argued over an $80 debt.

Police sources told The Trentonian the argument regarded a drug debt.

They were close enough that they would eat from the same plate,” Jonathan’s estranged wife Andrea Vargas said, adding that she doesn’t understand why someone would kill their own friend. “They were definitely friends. He attended a baby shower with Jonathan.”

Officials say Perez was arrested in connection with unrelated outstanding warrants this past weekend. Prosecutor’s charged him with murder Tuesday afternoon.

Jimenez, who is originally from Puerto Rico but has lived in Trenton for more than a decade, was gunned down in the first block of Cummings Avenue around 10:30 p.m. August 5. His family says he had moved into a home on that block three days prior to his death. When police arrived at the scene, they found Jimenez lying in the street suffering from a gunshot wound through his chest. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Read more

Community mourns death of Trenton man killed Friday

This makeshift memorial honoring Jonathan Jimenez is located in the 500 block of Emory Avenue. (Penny Ray - Trentonian)

This makeshift memorial honoring Jonathan Jimenez is located in the 500 block of Emory Avenue. (Penny Ray - Trentonian)

A woman who was walking across Emory Avenue Sunday afternoon noticed a makeshift memorial in honor of Jonathan Jimenez and made the sign of the cross on her body. The woman doesn’t know Jimenez, nor any of his family, but it was a gesture of understanding and faith that justice will prevail.

Jimenez, 32, was shot and killed in the Chambersburg section of the city outside of his Cummings Avenue home Friday night. His relatives say he moved into the property three days prior to his death.

Jimenez left behind three children: a 10-year-old son and two daughters, ages 15 and 11. He also has two brothers living in Trenton, one of whom is his twin. Read more

Trenton man shot, killed in Chambersburg

Johnathan Jimenez was shot and killed on Cummings Avenue Friday night. (Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman - Trentonian)

Jonathan Jimenez was shot and killed on Cummings Avenue Friday night. (Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman - Trentonian)

A 32-year-old Hispanic man was shot and killed late Friday in the Chambersburg neighborhood, police said.

Trenton resident Jonathan Jimenez of the 200 block of Hamilton Avenue was found lying in the street unconscious and unresponsive about 11 p.m. after suffering a gunshot wound through the chest, authorities said.

The victim was rushed to Capital Health Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, becoming the city’s 13th homicide victim of 2016, police said.

The shooting occurred in front of 35 Cummings Ave. about a half block away from Whittaker Avenue, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Read more

Man found guilty for role in death of Trenton cop’s son

Raheem Currie

Raheem Currie

TRENTON >> When the jury forewoman said “not guilty,” to one of the conspiracy charges, Luddie Austin’s heart dropped. He shook his head in disbelief. 

A sense of despair eased over him as he contemplated that there would be no “Justice for James,” his son who was shot to death when a “silly, silly” dispute over car windshields turned violent in Trenton in February 2013.

“I thought everything was over,” the retired Trenton sergeant said. “It was confusing.”

Read more

Jury has questions, re-hears testimony in Trenton cop son’s slay case

The jury in the Raheem Currie murder conspiracy trial on Tuesday asked to re-hear testimony from prosecutors’ star witness, focusing on a phone call in which two cousins allegedly discussed a handgun used to kill a retired city cop’s son.

The 12-member panel this morning listened a second time to excerpts of Robert Bartley’s testimony. They returned minutes later and asked a judge for clarification about a lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter.

Raheem Currie

Raheem Currie

Currie’s attorney expressed concerns about the jury hearing portions of the testimony and not having the full context.

Prosecutors suggested at trial the cousins engaged in a conspiracy to kill Austin.

But Judge Pedro Jimenez tossed out a conspiracy to commit murder count against Currie because of a lack of evidence.

Bartley, Currie’s cousin, has admitted to fatally shooting 18-year-old James Austin in February 2013, after he intervened in a spat between Currie and Austin that prosecutors said started as a “silly street fight.Read more

Man shot at Trenton birthday party dies in hospital

The man who was shot in the head at a young girl’s birthday party Saturday night has been pronounced legally brain-dead.

Nolman Vidal Rodriguez, 24, was pronounced legally brain-dead Sunday afternoon at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. He’s expected to be taken off of life-support sometime Monday.

Rodriguez was attending a birthday party outside of an apartment building in the 600 block of Greenwood Avenue around 9 p.m. Saturday when an unknown man approached on foot and randomly fired at the crowd.

Dozens of people including several children were outside the apartment building when at least five shots rang out, sending kids scattering into the building.

“There were approximately 30 people attending an 8-year-old’s birthday party,” Capt. Don Fillinger said.

Nolman Vidal Rodriguez

Nolman Vidal Rodriguez

Video of the shooting, obtained by The Trentonian, shows a man in a hooded sweatshirt walking on the opposite side of the street. The man stops at the Hanford Place intersection and fires several shots across the street toward people attending the party. The video captures the muzzle flash of the first shot, then shows the man with his arm extended as he continues to shoot.

When the gunsmoke cleared, Rodriguez was lying on the ground suffering from at least one gunshot wound to his head. Read more