One of the men charged in connection to killing of Rodney Burke admits to plot to rob him
TRENTON >> One of three people charged as accomplices in the fatal shooting death of Rodney Burke admitted he was involved in a plot to rob the 48-year-old but denied any involvement in his murder, prosecutors said.
But Assistant Prosecutor Lew Korngut said at a bail hearing Tuesday authorities believe Jaquan Dallas, 20, is one of two men who could have fired the fatal shot that killed Burke in the early-morning hours of Nov. 4, outside of a South Broad Street apartment, following a botched robbery.
A second male captured on surveillance fleeing the scene shortly after witnesses heard gunfire remains unidentified and at large, prosecutors said.
Two others, Kenneth Hines, 34, and Alexa Gomez, 30, have been arrested and charged with murder and conspiracy. Gomez is accused of setting up the robbery while Hines is believed to have driven the getaway car, prosecutors said.
Witnesses said Gomez, who is being held on $1 million, was acting suspicious and asked Burke to go with her to the store shortly before the murder. Hines, who remains incarcerated on $750,000 bail, was on crutches at the time he was behind the wheel of a white Suzuki SUV, prosecutors said.
Korngut said at the bail hearing surveillance shows a man authorities believe is Dallas talking on a cell phone with his cousin, Hines. Hines’ phone records revealed a call traced back to a cell phone used by Dallas around the time of the murder, prosecutors said.
Further, Dallas admitted he was in the area on the night witnesses say they saw two men fleeing from the apartment after shots rang out, Korngut said.
Hines reportedly told Dallas he knew of a “easy” robbery victim, but Dallas told authorities he was spooked because something “didn’t feel right,” prosecutors said.
Burke remained conscious after he was shot but was unable to identify the shooter as he was dragged inside the residence, Korngut said. He later died at a local hospital.
Sam Goldberg, Dallas’ attorney, said evidence against his client is “flimsy” and circumstantial.
Dallas, who also faces an unrelated drug charge, was incarcerated on warrants at the time her was charged with Burke’s death. He has several disorderly persons convictions and served 18 months in a juvenile facility for simple assault, prosecutors said.