Trenton killer accepts two-for-one plea

Prosecutors must be throwing a fall blowout sale after a Trenton man essentially paid for one crime and got another free in murder and attempted murder cases.

Dashawn Bethea admitted Thursday to aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault in two violent cases in Trenton and will spend less than two decades behind bars under terms of his deal with prosecutors.

He fired a .40 caliber handgun into a crowd on the 400 block of Stuyvesant Avenue on June 9, 2013 while walking with his father, Charles Boston, back from a nearby store.

Bethea missed bicyclists who were his intended targets, and a stray bullet struck Berkeley McDaniel, 61, in the head, killing him. Bethea also wounded his father, who suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Boston recovered from his injuries.

Police found spent .40 caliber shell casings at the scene, along with a broken cell phone, a bicycle, and an ammunition magazine.

Bethea was indicted in the June 2013 murder and also faced attempted murder and weapons offenses in a separate case for shooting two victims. His plea deal calls for him to serve 14 years for manslaughter, and seven years for aggravated assault – both of which he will serve concurrently.

The deal is far better than the 30 years previously extended to Bethea for murder.

It’s the second time in the last week Mercer County prosecutors have agreed to lenient deals with murder suspects – perhaps suggesting their cases weren’t strong.

Grady Blue III, 23, jumped at a plea deal last Friday, in admitting to a lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter for fatally shooting Naquan Ellis, 23, as he was stood with a group of people outside of the North 25 housing complex in June 2014.

Blue’s deal calls for him to serve 12 years in the slammer.

Bethea’s sentencing date was not immediately available. He remains jailed on $1 million bail.

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