Murder indictments handed up in Trenton shooting death of mentally ill victim
By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman
Three men accused of shooting and killing intellectually disabled city resident Rodney Burke during an attempted robbery last year have all been indicted this week on first-degree felony murder charges and related offenses, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday.
The indictment alleges Kenneth Hines, 35, Alexandria Gomez, 31, and Jaquan Dallas, 20, all conspired to commit an armed robbery, which led to the death of Burke, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Burke, 48, was found inside his apartment on the 1000 block of South Broad Street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds about 2 a.m. Nov. 4, 2014. Medics rushed Burke to Saint Francis Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Burke, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 18, had been repeatedly robbed during the last three years of his life, according to The Trentonian’s award-winning reporting on his murder.
“Around the first of the month when he got his disability check, they would take his money from him,” his mother Gloria Burke told The Trentonian in an interview last November. “He never told me who was doing it; he was scared. They took his money all of the time.”
Burke was originally from New Brunswick but resided in Trenton during the last few years of his life, according to his family. He was often victimized at his former city residence on Hamilton Avenue, prompting him to seek safer housing in another part of Trenton. Greater Trenton Behavioral Healthcare, however, relocated Burke to a troubled South Broad Street apartment that was known to be a hotspot for illegal activity, and Burke was murdered several weeks later, according to his family.
Police found Burke inside his South Broad Street apartment suffering from the lethal gunshot wounds, but police said they believe he was shot elsewhere.
Indicted suspects Hines, Gomez and Dallas all remain incarcerated, but a fourth suspect remains unidentified and at large. Authorities urge anyone with information on the at-large murder suspect to call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406 or the Trenton police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663.