Trenton man pleads guilty to possession of stolen car used in drive-by

A drug convict on probation pleaded guilty today to possession of the stolen car used by others in a drive-by murder along Route 29 on Jan. 30, 2012.

Luis Alvarado, 24, admitted in court that he was tooling around in the stolen black Chrysler Sebring in the hours before it was used to ambush Daquan Dowling as he drove north along the highway between Cass Street and Memorial Drive.

In a plea deal worked out by defense lawyer Steve Slaven and Assistant Mercer County Prosecutor Jim Scott, Alvarado pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and violating the probation from his drug conviction.

Under the deal, he’ll be sentenced to four years in prison. Mercer Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier set sentencing for Sept. 10.

Three other suspects are facing trial on murder charges for the drive-by slaying of Dowling, 23, who died after being shot in the head that night.

Suspected gunman Andre Romero, 21, allegedly fired shots into Dowling’s car while a passenger in the stolen Chrysler that pulled up next to the victim’s car on northbound 29 just past Cass Street.

Romero was joined on the passenger side of the Chrysler by William Mitchell, 25, who also allegedly fired into the Dowling car.

Dowling’s front seat passenger had to duck bullets and flying glass as he steered the borrowed car into a crash along the Memorial Drive ramp leading into New Jersey’s government district.

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