Man who shot his own genitals arrested in James Wells slaying

Antonio Sloan

Antonio Sloan

A convicted Trenton man who was recently released from state prison for accidentally shooting himself in the genitals with his own gun has been arrested Wednesday morning on the most serious of charges: Felony murder.

Antonio “Riot” Sloan, 25, was being held on $1 million bail on charges accusing him of being the suspect who slayed 72-year-old James Wells in a vicious attack.

Wells was a well-respected Trenton man who died last week from critical injuries he had suffered in the Sept. 13 brutal beating.

U.S. Marshals from a regional task force, along with officers from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, arrested Sloan at his Trenton residence about 8 a.m. on Second Street, authorities said.

Sloan is accused of punching and kicking Wells in the body and head in the area of East Hanover and North Broad streets about 8 p.m. Sept. 13. Sloan fled from the scene after allegedly reaching into Wells’ pocket and removing personal property, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Wells died Sept. 24 from his critical injuries as family members stood beside him at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Police have been familiar with Sloan well before he became a murder suspect.

Sloan’s adult convictions in the New Jersey criminal justice system began with him reporting to a state prison on May 21, 2010, for receiving stolen property. He was released on parole 14 months later, but he was hauled back into prison shortly thereafter for violating his parole, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

When his sentencing for receiving stolen property ended on March 1, 2012, Sloan ended up getting himself into more trouble about three months later when he accidentally shot himself in the genitals on May 27, 2012, on the 400 block of North Montgomery Street.

Prior to shooting himself that night, Sloan was trying to run away from the scene of a car fire. His gun reportedly discharged as he was attempting to jump over a wall.

A grand jury indicted Sloan on multiple charges in August 2012, including arson and weapons offenses, but a judge ultimately sentenced Sloan to serve one-to-three years in a state prison on a basic weapons charge. Superior Court Judge Gerald Council at the time said Sloan’s action of “shooting himself in the groin should be lesson enough that guns are dangerous,” The Trentonian reported at the time.

Sloan began serving his weapons sentence on Feb. 25, 2014, and was released from the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility on May 7, 2015, according to the DOC.

Four months after being released from state prison, Sloan allegedly unleashed the deadly attack on Wells.

James Wells

James Wells

Also known as “Wellsy” or “Jimmy,” Wells was an outspoken Trenton activist who ran unsuccessfully for Trenton City Council in 2002. A graduate of Ewing High School, Wells served in the U.S. Army and once ran a business — Wellsy’s Deli — in a building he owned on North Montgomery Street, according to his obituary.

The felony murder and robbery charges against Sloan are the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. Video footage was obtained by detectives, and Sloan was identified as a suspect through video analysis and witness statements, prosecutors said.

Sloan could serve a life sentence if convicted on the felony murder charge.

“If you are convicted of felony murder, in addition to receiving a prison sentence, you could be fined up to $200,000 and ordered to pay restitution to cover funeral or possibly other expenses on behalf of the victim,” New Jersey criminal trial attorney William D. Ware said on his website.

Wells’ funeral service will begin 9 a.m. Friday at Campbell Funeral Chapel in Trenton. Due to his honorable service in the U.S. armed forces, Wells will be buried at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pa.

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