Trenton man accused of murder gets 7 years on gun charge

Drug dealer Daniel McCargo flashed a smile toward the back of the courtroom as he was led out in handcuffs after being sent to prison for 7 years Friday on a gun charge, moments after the grandmother of a murder victim chastised him for playing a role in “destroying” her family’s life.

Daniel McCargo

Daniel McCargo

McCargo, 30, was one of two men charged with the murder of 24-year-old Jahmir Hall, who was gunned down in Trenton in April 2014.

McCargo admitted being armed with a handgun the night Hall was shot to death, but ballistics revealed it wasn’t the handgun used in the murder.

Co-defendant and admitted triggerman Curtis Grier, who is free on $300,000 bail, pleaded guilty in June to a lesser charge of reckless manslaughter, prosecutor spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio said.

Prosecutors will ask a judge to send Grier to prison for 10 years when he is sentenced in October.

His attorney, Robin Lord played coy with a reporter, saying she had “no present memory” of the charge her client pleaded to. She declined further comment.

Ellen Hall, the victim’s grandmother, remembered her musically inclined grandson as a “happy-go-lucky guy” and the “fun uncle” who played video games with his nieces and nephews and bought them snacks.

She said when Grier and McCargo got together April 19, 2014 they “took a part of us,” referring to the fatal shooting.

“I still try to remember what his voice was like,” she said.

Malaeika Montgomery, McCargo’s attorney, was careful to point out that her client did not plead guilty to any charges related to Hall’s death under terms of a plea deal that led to the dismissal of murder charges.

McCargo had previously turned down a deal from prosecutors that would have called for his to testify against Grier.

Prosecutors conceded they would have a hard time proving McCargo shared Grier’s intent to kill.

Surveillance showed McCargo standing outside a black Mercedes Benz while Grier shot Hall on Quinton Avenue. Grier was not captured in the footage, prosecutors had said, but gunshots could be heard.

Authorities spotted the two men in a vehicle matching a description. McCargo attempted to hide a black handgun – the one he admitted to having.

Prosecutors had said McCargo was “complicit” in Hall’s murder because he did not contact police and drove around with Grier for a half-hour after the murder, until they were stopped by police.

McCargo had the hard-knock life prior to getting wrapped up in Hall’s death.

His own mother was murdered in 2004, and his imprisoned father has never been a part of his life.

McCargo turned to drugs at a young age. He first smoked marijuana at 9 years old, tasting alcohol for the first time two years later. At 16, he began popping Percocet.

The high school dropout has spent most of his life jobless, save for the two months he spent as a cook at Fort Dix.

He was arrested and convicted as a minor, and got wrapped up in the criminal justice system as an adult in 2005, when he was convicted of having a handgun.

McCargo also has prior felonies for drug dealing.

Thanking Hall’s grandmother for the strength and resilience it took to share her story, Judge Peter Warshaw said Hall met a fate too common in Trenton.

“Too many victims,” he said, “too many conversations like this. This is what happens when guns take over the street. Somebody dies. Somebody goes to jail. It’s a sad reality that has to stop.”

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