Man dies from gunshot wound to the head eight years later

Trenton’s 21st homicide of 2013 was eight years in the making.

On Nov. 13, 2005, Omar Hightower was shot in the head on Walnut Avenue. He survived the with the bullet lodged in his head, which has caused him to have seizures.

On July 5 in Camden, Hightower died from a seizure caused by the bullet in his brain, First Assistant Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said. He did not have issues with seizures prior to the 2005 shooting.

The New Jersey State Police determined that Hightower’s death will be counted as a 2013 Trenton homicide.

At the time of Hightower’s shooting, investigators charged then 20-year-old Darrell Griffin with attempted murder along with aggravated assault and weapons charges. Currently, Griffin is one of two plaintiffs currently suing the city for personal injuries allegedly caused by Trenton Police.

Surveillance video at La Guira on North Clinton from Feb. 2012 showed Sgt. Rolando Ramos pulling Griffin to the ground by his jacket as he was walking out of the bar. Ramos was suspended without pay in October of last year, but the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office cleared Ramos of criminal charges in the incident. In that same incident, Officer Nidia Colon is currently indicted on criminal misconduct charges, specifically excessive force, after being seen on camera pulling the hair of a handcuffed Michelle Roberts.

The charges against Darrell Griffin were dismissed with without prejudice in 2006, meaning the case against Griffin was inclusive at the time, with one of the reasons being that Hightower’s injuries were too severe to testify.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Doris Galuchie, defendants in cases that are dismissed without prejudice can be charged again provided that the statute of limitations has not run out. In Griffin’s case, the statute of limitations for his charges has run out. There is no statute of limitations for homicide charges.

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