2016: Trenton’s homicides by the numbers
The capital city experienced 24 homicides in 2016, which includes the deaths of Edwardo Martinez and Vincent Miller, whom both were killed by hit-and-run drivers. That number also includes the death of Alfred Toe who was shot and killed while trying to wrestle a handgun away from an off-duty police officer.
That number does not include the death of Antonio Wiley, the city crossing guard who was struck and killed by a motorist while helping someone walk across Route 129 in April. Duane Bennett, of Upper Freehold, was arrested in connection with the incident and is charged with causing death while driving with a suspended license. But Bennett has not been charged with death by auto, and the medical examiner lists the manner of Wiley’s death an accident. Prosecutors say the case will be presented to a grand jury soon, which may result in a vehicular homicide indictment.
According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit, vehicular homicides are considered manslaughter and are not reported as a homicide statistic. Justifiable homicides are not counted in state police murder statistics either. Therefore, NJSP will report Trenton’s official 2016 homicide number as 21.
The Trentonian, however, includes vehicular homicides and justifiable police-involved killings in its yearly homicide count.
September was the deadliest month of 2016, largely because of a double murder that happened at a Shell gas station; three other people died that month as well. Four people were killed in each of the months of June and August. There were no homicides in February, March and October.
Twenty-one victims were male; three were female.
Nine homicides occurred in the West Ward, more than any other ward. The East Ward experienced eight killings.
Twelve victims were in their 20s at the time of their death, and six victims were in their 30s when they died. Four teenagers were murdered in 2016 as well.
The oldest victim was 60-year-old Stephen Merrill, a well-respected member of the capital city’s arts and music community who was robbed and beaten to death by a man later identified as 25-year-old Jonathan Weathers. The youngest victim was 15-year-old Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah, who was gunned down in Prospect Village.
Seventeen victims were black, five were Hispanic and two were white.
Shootings killed 20 people in the capital city, more than any other homicide method. One person was stabbed to death: 27-year-old Carlos Leiva-Oviedo.
Seven victims were pronounced dead at the scene and 17 died at the hospital.
Nineteen suspects were arrested in connection with homicides that occurred in 2016; two of them are female and six of them are juveniles. So far, only one of the suspects who was a juvenile at the time of the crime is being tried in court as an adult: Peter Charles Jr., who is accused of firing at a speeding van carrying seven other juveniles, including Ciony Kirkman who died from a gunshot wound to the head.
The majority of homicides happened between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Six killings occurred between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Using 2015 census data and the 21 homicides state police will officially report to the FBI, Trenton’s 2016 murder rate is 24.93 homicides per 100,000 residents.