Bail stays at $1M for Trenton man accused of Halloween homicide
The Trenton man implicated in a Halloween homicide of a Philadelphia man was out on bail on weapons charges at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said.
Donte Jones, 23, allegedly opened fire and killed 36-year-old Levonza Thompson with a 9mm handgun in the courtyard of the Oakland Park Apartments at 220 Coolidge Avenue, prosecutors said. Police found Thompson suffering from multiple gun shots wounds after he and Jones were involved in a struggle. He was rushed to a hospital where he died a short time later.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Lew Korngut said Thursday at a bail hearing that police recovered 10 shell casings and a live round from the scene. Korngut said a witness in close proximity of the shooting identified Jones as the shooter. Another witness reviewed surveillance footage of the shooting and identified Jones as the gunman based off clothing and mannerisms, Korngut said.
Authorities tracked Jones to a home on the first block of Laurel Place, where he was found hiding under a pile of clothes in a third-floor attic, according to Korngut. Korngut said Jones told police he was at the scene but denied shooting Thompson. He said he fled after hearing gun shots and implicated a man he saw standing with a group of four other people at the scene of the shooting. But he told police he didn’t get a good look at the shooter and couldn’t identify him.
Jamie Kohl, the attorney representing Jones, argued her client was entitled to lower bail because he doesn’t have a prior criminal history and police hadn’t recovered a gun. She asked Judge Pedro Jimenez for bail to be reduced to $250,000, saying her client, a lifelong Trenton resident with community ties, is not a flight risk.
But Jimenez ordered bail be maintained at $1 million cash-only. Jones is expected back in court Jan. 5.