Father confronts suspect over plea agreement in son’s death
A retired Trenton cop stood up in court to protest today when a prosecutor offered a 10-year plea deal to an accomplice of his son’s suspected killer.
Luddie Austin also confronted Raheem Currie as the accused accomplice stepped outside the courthouse, threatening the young man until his mother stepped in and told the cop “Get out of my face.’’
Victim James Austin’s older sister also confronted defense lawyer John Furlong at the courthouse exit and blamed him for getting Currie out on bail and for arguing that his client didn’t shoot the 18-year-old and didn’t know the suspected gunman was going to shoot the cop’s son the afternoon of Feb. 26.
After court, Furlong said prosecutors agreed to the terms of the plea deal because they are satisfied that his client had a lesser role in the slaying of Austin, a scholar- athlete whose father served two Army tours in the Middle East.
Currie and Austin had a long-standing beef that ended with each smashing the windshield of the other’s car, Furlong said. When Currie told his cousin Robert Bartley about it, Bartley allegedly told him to drive him to the Austin home in the 900 block of East State Street so he could “spray the place’’ with bullets.
Instead, authorities said, Bartley confronted James Austin and shot him once in the chest, killing him in the doorway of his house.
When confronted by Currie’s mother, Austin responded: “I’m not getting out of your face as long as this kid is out of jail.’’
Mercer sheriff’s officers then stepped in to break up the confrontation.