Suspects in three separate murders reject plea deals, headed for trial

Suspects in three separate city murders, including the slaying of a retired cop’s son, were set up for trial Monday after they rejected plea deals with prosecutors.

Raheem Currie, suspected of driving the admitted triggerman to the killing of James Austin on Feb. 26, 2013, pleaded not guilty to a new indictment based on grand-jury testimony from shooter Robert Bartley.

Austin, 18, was the son of retired Trenton cop and U.S. Army combat veteran Luddie Austin. The shooting occurred following a running dispute between his son and Currie, who smashed each other’s car windshields. Currie is accused of running to Bartley after his car was smashed. His lawyer, John Furlong, said Currie didn’t shoot Austin in the chest and thought only that they’d shoot at the house that day, rather than Bartley walking up to the door to confront the cop’s son face to face.

Also opting for trial in a separate hearing before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier was Stanley Miller, 26, who is charged with fatally stabbing 21-year-old acquaintance Abraham Jeditoe on Aug. 4, 2012.

Authorities said Miller and Jeditoe got into an argument as they walked along Chambers Street that morning and that Miller allegedly stabbed the victim in an artery high on his inside leg. Jeditoe bled to death in minutes.

Miller was represented by defense lawyer Robin Lord, who also handled the hearing before Billmeier for suspect Curtis Brittingham, 26, who is charged with stabbing Tito Glover to death during a fight outside a North Ward bar on Sept. 5, 2009.

Assistant Mercer Prosecutor Brian McCauley said Brittingham could get a prison term of five years if he pleads now to aggravated manslaughter for the stab to the back of Glover.

Last chance for that deal, Billmeier told the suspect after reminding him that he could get 37 years if he goes to trial for murder and gets convicted.

Lord also asked him if he wanted to go to trial in light of the plea offer and Brittingham said yes. He is free on bail for the killing as well his arrest soon after his release on drug and weapons charges.

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