Trenton man pleads guilty to 2008 killing
A Trenton man pleaded guilty on Thursday to aggravated manslaughter charges, for the killing of another city man in 2008.
Jamal Brandon Darby, 24, appeared in front of Judge Robert Billmeier to accept the last minute plea bargain agreement.
Darby, who was set to stand trial for the homicide in March, admitted his involvement which lead to the fatal beating and shooting of Marshan Washington.
The 31-year-old city man was found wrapped in a blue tarp and dumped at the side of the road in the city’s Island neighborhood on the morning of Feb. 25, 2008. According to authorities, sanitation workers stumbled upon the body on Riverside Drive and Clearfield Avenue, when they noticed the victim’s arm hanging out of the tarp.
“On the morning of February 23, 2008, you went to Mr. Washington’s home and got into a heated argument with him,” said Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Skylar Weissman. “You had a beef with Marshan Washington earlier in the day and punches/blows were exchanged.”
“Yeah, we were mad at each other,” said Darby.
Weissman continued to recount the details of the day, detailing to the defendant what happened when Darby returned later in the afternoon to the victim’s home.
“When you came back you found Wallace Lee McClain in the house and you gave him drugs, right?”
“Yes, crack cocaine,” confirmed Darby.
“How did (McClain) act after he took the drugs?” said Weissman
“He was a little jittery,” said Darby.
According to the testimony, the two men began to discuss killing Washington. The victim, a convicted burglar who was being monitored by the New Jersey State Parole Board through an electronic device fitted to his body, had a gun in the home.
“I didn’t give it to (McClain,) I just showed him where it was,” recounted Darby. “I showed him it was on the couch.”
According to Darby, McClain shot Washington and the two men wrapped the body and dumped it on the side of the road.
Darby faces up to 10 years in prison for the murder and must serve 85 percent or just over eight years before he is eligible for parole. While Darby was incarcerated, awaiting proceedings regarding the aggravated manslaughter charge, he was involved in a violent incident which occurred at the correctional facility. He was charged and sentenced to three years for an aggravated assault charge in 2011.
According to Judge Billmeier, Darby maxed out his three year sentence and has been incarcerated in “limbo” awaiting the homicide trial. The defendant will be eligible to approximately four and half years of time served when he is formally sentenced on April 3, 2013.