Prosecutors: Guns link suspects to teen’s murder in Prospect Village
A blaze of bullets and shell casings scattered in the street were linked to the murder of 15-year-old city teen found slumped over in the streets, soaked in blood almost exactly six months ago, prosecutors said.
It took detectives time to take in the murderous scene they encountered when they arrived in Prospect Village, in the city’s West Ward, in broad daylight June 11.
The victim, Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah, was fatally shot in a volley of bullets during a gun battle, prosecutors said.
Three city teens, Wilson George, Jashawn Smith and Juprie Wadley, were charged six months later with the teen’s slaying.
Smith and Wadley appeared in court Friday for a bail hearing.
Assistant Prosecutor William Fisher, laying out the ““extremely strong circumstantial case,” said authorities recovered three handguns, bullets and shell casings linking the teen suspects to the killing.
The three are charged with murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses.
George had been allowed to walk in June after police didn’t find a gun on him.
He later charged for allegedly tossing a handgun before he was apprehended with the others on Louise Lane, the same spot where cops shot city teen Radazz Hearns last year.
The two teens, who don’t have prior criminal records, were charged with murder after police wrapped up the investigation, including getting ballistics back from the state police crime lab.
Police recovered six bullets and eight shell casings in June that matched to recovered handguns, Fisher said.
Prosecutors didn’t disclose a motive but detectives who spoke on condition of anonymity said street hustlers from Prospect Village have been “beefing” with hustlers from the North 25 Housing complex.
The apartment complexes are less than a 15-minute walk from each other.
Smith appeared calm as he listened by video to the prosecutor outline the allegations against him, sitting inside a small, boxy room at the Mercer County Correction Center.
He is accused of running from the police when as he and his associates left the Prospect Village housing complex.
Officers spotted the teens fleeing down the sidewalk, three blocks from the shooting, and ordered them to stop at gunpoint.
George and Wadley got on the ground while Smith bolted.
While being chased by the cops, he dropped a sweatshirt and a 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun, Fisher said. He was tracked down and charged.
Wadley was patted down and found with a .22-caliber revolver with two fired shell casings in the chamber, Fisher said.
Police canvassed the scene again and found a .32-caliber gun near the back of a parked Lexus where Smith dropped his sweatshirt, Fisher said.
The eight spent shells in the street came from the same gun, Fisher said.
“The only bullets that were traceable were traceable back to these guns,” Fisher said.
Smith admitted in an interview with the police firing three shots toward a crowd of people, prosecutors said.
Wadley denied he was at Prospect Village but later changed his story, admitting he was there and ran when he heard shots but didn’t see who fired them.
George didn’t appear for a bail hearing and whatever he may have told the authorities wasn’t addressed.
The prosecutor said surveillance showed the three teens heading toward the area of the shooting and leaving from it.
A judge maintained bail at $1 million for the two teens. George’s bail hearing is set for a later date.
-Penny Ray contributed to this report