Trenton man charged with murder won’t take deal if it’s for ‘a year,’ attorney says

A Trenton man charged with two murders has been offered a plea deal that would put him behind bars for nearly three decades for one of the murders.

Markquice Thomas

Markquice Thomas

Markquice “Tank” Thomas is charged with the murders of 44-year-old Joseph “Power God” Gaines, a former drug dealer turned city activist, as well as the murder of 22-year-old Jared Littlejohn.

Littlejohn, of Ewing, was kidnapped and killed in September 2012 during a botched robbery, prosecutors have said. Two years later, in March 2014, Thomas killed Gaines over an outstanding drug debt, prosecutors have said.

Littlejohn’s case, which has not been indicted, remained cold until witnesses stepped forward, prosecutors said. Thomas was served with the murder charge in Littlejohn’s death while he was jailed in Gaines’ slaying.

Thomas’ attorney, Robin Lord, said her client has entered not guilty pleas to the murders as well as to counts in a drug case.

“We wouldn’t take it if it was one year,” Lord said of prosecutors’ offer.

Thomas and Gaines allegedly exchanged text message some time before the murder in which Gaines said he planned to pay off his debt, prosecutors have said.

Prosecutors believe the former city drug dealer who had reportedly turned his life around to become a mentor for troubled city youth was killed because of an outstanding drug debt.

Gaines had sent Thomas text messages sometime before he was slain telling Thomas he intended to pay off the debt, prosecutors said.

Thomas’ next appearance in court is set for Jan. 11.

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