Trenton man offered more than 60 years for two murders

A Trenton man who has said he is not willing to spend a day in prison for allegedly killing two city men was hit with a jaw-dropping offer that guarantees he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he accepted it.

Markquice Thomas

Markquice Thomas

Markquice “Tank” Thomas was indicted for the slaying of 22-year-old Jared Littlejohn, of Ewing, who was kidnapped and killed in September 2012 during a botched robbery, prosecutors said.

Thomas pleaded not guilty to killing Littlejohn when he was arraigned Friday before Judge Robert Billmeier.

He previously pleaded not guilty to killing 44-year-old Joseph “Power God” Gaines, a former drug dealer turned city activist, two years later, in March 2014.

Prosecutors extended a “global” plea offer calling for Thomas to serve 62 years in prison. The deal packages two murder charges with a drug case.

Under terms of the deal, Thomas would plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter and receive 28 years. That would run consecutively to a 30-year sentence for murder, along with a consecutive 4-year sentence in the drug case.

Littlejohn’s case 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.

Gaines, a 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, prosecutors said.

Thomas’ attorney, Robin Lord, has said her client would not take a deal “if it was for one year.”

Lord raised hackles Friday about her client’s case possibly being transferred to another judge. She said she was opposed to the matter being handled by another judge.

Billmeier said he would pass Lord’s objections along to Peter Warshaw, the presiding criminal judge who has the final call.

Plea cutoff is set for Thomas’ next court appearance in June.

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