Trenton man charged in two murders could be tried at single trial

A Trenton man charged with killing two people days apart in 2013 may have his murder cases tried together at a single trial if prosecutors have their way.

Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Katz said she will file court papers, known as a

Alton Jones

Alton Jones

joinder, in the coming weeks asking to try Alton Jones together for the murders of Rayshawn Ransom and Tierra Green.

She said Jones used the same handgun to mow both Ransom and Green on Passaic Street in June 2013. Green was fatally shot in the stomach three days after Ransom was gunned down in a deadly, gang-related shootout that led to convictions of two other Trenton men.

A judge has scheduled oral arguments in Jones’ case for Feb. 16. Jones is expected to oppose prosecutors’ request for a joint trial.

Regardless of the outcome, Jones plans to fight both murder charges. Clad in a green jumpsuit, he nodded to supporters at the back of the courtroom, telling them to “Be safe” when a woman told him to keep his head up as he was led away in shackles from the courtroom.

Prosecutors said they are at an impasse in negotiations with Jones who has rejected a plea offer of 40 years in state prison, 20 years each running consecutively for two counts of aggravated manslaughter.

“We’re not making progress,” said Katz, who inherited the case from retired prosecutor Lewis Korngut.

Jones was charged along with Marquis Skillman, 29, and Dyquise Leonard, following the shooting death of Ransom, 19, who was gunned down while he sat in a car with friends on Passaic Street.

Investigators have said the fatal shot came from Jones’ automatic handgun, which witnesses said was tossed out of a getaway car that sped away from the scene.

Jones and Leonard were reportedly involved in an ongoing feud with a group of people who hailed from Passaic Street. The two groups met as part of an expected truce when Jones, Leonard and Skillman reportedly opened fire on three men, including Ransom, as he was seated in the car. Ransom’s friends were also wounded in the shootout.

Leonard pleaded guilty to attempted murder in Ransom’s death as part of a 12-year sentence.

Skillman, the twin brother of Maurice Skillman, said he was armed but did not admit to firing when he pleaded guilty to robbery last year.

He was expected to receive 11 years in state prison and was still awaiting sentencing when he was arrested last week with another man. Police said Skillman and Justice Ford, 28, were found in possession of handguns and marijuana in a stolen vehicle during a traffic stop.

It is unclear how the new charges will impact Skillman’s plea deal.

Skillman’s brother and another Trenton man are expected to go on trial this month for the November 2012 murder of Mercer County Corrections Officer Carl Batie.

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