Judge rejects plea to reduce sentence for Tamrah Leonard’s killer

A judge rejected a plea Tuesday to take nine years off the 39 the admitted triggerman got for the drive-by killing of 13-year-old Tamrah Leonard on June 7, 2009.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mark Fleming said an appeals court panel might have mistakenly ruled that the gun charge Lamar Warren also pleaded guilty to should have been merged with the murder for sentencing purposes.

“There are no free crimes,’’ said Fleming.

Lamar Warren

Lamar Warren

He said his reading of the law permitted him to approve a plea deal giving Warren 30 years for the aggravated manslaughter of the girl, plus an additional nine years on the weapon charge.

He noted that Warren agreed to the plea deal before he was formally sentenced on Oct. 22 amid screams from Leonard’s family that 39 years wasn’t nearly enough for “animal” Warren, who is now 23.

Fleming said he was asked to review the sentence after the “excessive sentencing panel’’ of the New Jersey Supreme Court sent it back to him for possible resentencing.

Assistant Mercer Prosecutor Doris Galuchie called it a technicality that shouldn’t shorten the 39-year term, despite defense lawyer Frank Gleason’s argument that the gun case should have been merged into a manslaughter charge downgraded from murder.

With the judge’s rejection of Gleason’s appeals-court-inspired plea, shackled Warren jangled out of the courtroom under escort for the trip back to prison, where he’s slated to stay until about age 48.

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